by Andrea Doyle | November 27, 2018
Australia is experiencing major developments including new venues, convention center expansions and major hotel developments. The country has all the components to impress a small incentive group or one numbering in the thousands.

"Incentive planners should consider Australia for their next program due to our inspirational business events destinations and 'can't be bought' experiences," says Penny Lion, executive general manager of events, Tourism Australia. "Australia's innovative event delivery capabilities, friendly, welcoming people and unique landscapes combine with our exceptional food and wine and high-quality products and experiences to deliver above expectations for incentive events."

Combine natural beauty with modern cities like Sydney and Melbourne and a rich indigenous history and you have an inspiring destination. Incentive-worthy regions include Adelaide, with wildlife, culture and arts festivals and Mediterranean climate. Another desirable location is Brisbane, the third-largest city in Australia, which features a subtropical climate, thriving dining scene, and a range of outdoor activities including those on the Brisbane River.

For access to the World Heritage--listed Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest, Cairns and Port Douglas are worth a look. Canberra, Australia's capital, is a modern city complemented by nearby wine regions, museums and galleries. Stretching along the coastline of South East Queensland, the Gold Coast mixes city, hinterland and beach experiences. Perth, the capital city of Western Australia, is home to one of the biggest inner-city parks in the world, Kings Park and Botanic Garden. For the quintessential Outback adventure, Uluru and Kata Tjuta rock formations are a great option, as are sunrise tours and starlit dinners.

The country recently welcomed several new luxury hotels including the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, located next to ICC Sydney. Brisbane's South Bank precinct has seen the opening of the Emporium Hotel, within walking distance of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Further north, Cairns will welcome three new properties from the Crystalbrook Collection -- the first of which will open in November.  

Development Abounds
Large-scale developments are also expanding Australia's offerings. The $1.4 billion redevelopment of Brisbane's Howard Smith Wharves will see the introduction of event spaces that host up to 1,200 guests, while in Sydney the harborside Barangaroo development offers more than 40 newly built restaurants, bars and event spaces for up to 5,000 guests.

In Melbourne, the newly expanded Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre has added 188,000 square feet of exhibition and adaptable event spaces, making a grand total of over 430,000 square feet of pillarless exhibition space.

Major hotel developments include Marriott International's The Ritz-Carlton, Sydney, which is expected to open in 2020. The hotel will feature 220 rooms, 15 restaurants and bar dining outlets, a rooftop terrace and a Sky Lobby, three swimming pools, two fitness centers, a spa and wellness center and five-level neighborhood center designed for events and conferences.

Queens Wharf redevelopment in Brisbane, scheduled to open in 2022, will feature five hotels including Ritz-Carlton, bringing over 1,110 new premium hotel rooms to the city center. The project also includes 50 restaurants and bars, and a pedestrian bridge that will provide access to South Bank.

Questions or comments? Email [email protected]

This article appears in the Winter 2018 issue of Incentive.