Business, Pleasure Meet in Australia

A favorite incentive destination, this country also knows how to get down to business.

The sixth largest country in the world holds a special place in the public imagination as a destination of beauty, friendliness, and adventure. But while Australia’s spectacular surroundings make it an ideal incentive destination, its growing meetings offerings are making it great for business too.

“Australia has a proven track record in hosting world-class events and with ongoing investment into its business events infrastructure, will continue to provide business and incentive delegates with exceptional facilities,” says Penny Lion, head of Business Events Australia, the specialist business events marketing arm of Tourism Australia.

She points to a range of new projects, including a $136-million upgrade to Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse and $91-million event center at The Star, Sydney — a rooftop space set above 20 signature restaurants and shops.

Site preparation is underway on the $900-million redevelopment of the Sydney International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour. The waterfront venue will be the country’s largest when it opens its doors in December 2016, with a 131,000-square-foot exhibition space and 26,000 square feet in meeting rooms. That’s only part of the transformation taking place in Darling Harbour, thanks also to the Four Points by Sheraton, Darling Harbour, which is investing more than $145 million into an expansion of the property.

But arguably the top city for meetings in Australia remains Melbourne. Voted Australasia's Leading Meetings & Conference Destination in the 2013 World Travel Awards, the city will host three of the world’s largest heath and medical conferences in the coming year. The high-end Pullman Melbourne Albert Park now has 28 event spaces under one roof, including the 1,600-capacity ballroom. Lion notes that airlift between the U.S. and Australia is also easier than ever, with a 30 percent growth in capacity since 2008.

Whichever parts of the country that meetings groups visit, they will find no shortage of welcoming people and rich culture.

“Australia has an open, dynamic and friendly culture that encourages innovation and fresh thinking,” says Lion.