by Andrea Doyle | July 10, 2018
From cosmopolitan cities like Sydney and Melbourne, to pristine nature in the outback and beautiful beaches, Australia is a bucket-list destination for many reasons, with experiences that can't be found anywhere else in the world.

An incentive program held along the Australian Great Barrier Reef region last May for a group of 350 adults and 70 children highlighted this. The program, created by Australian destination management company ID Events, took over the entire Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas. Located right on Four Mile Beach, the 294-room, recently renovated hotel has a golf course, a variety of outdoor and indoor event spaces, 24-hour service and, best of all, proximity to the Great Barrier Reef.

Highlights of the program included snorkeling off of Quicksilver Cruises' private catamaran to the best Great Barrier Reef location, based on the day's weather.

The program also featured Australian wildlife encounters during an exclusive guided tour of Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, a discovery of Aboriginal culture with a private Mossman Gorge Dreamtime Walk, conducted by local indigenous people, and golf at Palmer Sea Reef.

Brisbane in the Spotlight

At the end of last year, Dreamtime 2017, Tourism Australia's signature incentive product showcase, wowed the meeting and incentive planners fortunate enough to be in attendance, demonstrating the depth of Australia's creativity in event delivery.  

Brisbane was the site of Dreamtime 2017 because the destination has made a substantial investment in infrastructure, hotel builds, new incentive products and experiences.

"Brisbane is a progressive, growing and globally connected city; we are quite literally Australia's front door to the rest of the world," said Lord Mayor of Brisbane Graham Quirk at the event. "Dreamtime 2017 is an opportunity for us to demonstrate that Brisbane is a unique city that offers creative and fun incentive experiences."

Dreamtime 2017 included a networking reception at Eleven Rooftop Bar with some of Brisbane's best-known citizens joining the group to share their stories. Acclaimed dancer Li Cunxin, World Welterweight Champion boxer Jeff Horn, and others shared why Brisbane is their home.

The closing-night dinner held at the Queensland Art Gallery's Watermall wowed. Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's art installation Narcissus Garden 1966/2002 provided a dramatic setting where more than 260 guests were treated to a specially created, multisensory experience.

As dinner progressed, Australian artist Sophia Mary Mac created a piece of live digital art on the Watermall's 79-foot-by-31-foot wall, inspired by the events of the Dreamtime 2017 program.

"Hosting Dreamtime was the ideal demonstration of how Australia's talented event organizers and companies bring to life creativity, hospitality and a sense of occasion," says John O'Sullivan, Tourism Australia's managing director. "The location was chosen specifically to leave our Dreamtime delegates with a lasting impression of Brisbane and Australia. The night was designed to showcase that Australia delivers not just excellent customer service and technical innovation, but truly imaginative events that can raise an incentive event from rewarding to a truly memorable experience."  

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This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of Incentive.