BRISBANE lit up the sky with a fireworks welcome for delegates participating in Dreamtime, Tourism Australia’s biannual showcase for incentive travel organisers.
Around 100 international buyers and 30 media arrived in the city for a two-day event featuring buyer-supplier networking at Brisbane Convention Centre, tours and city experiences followed by visits to selected Australian cities.
Penny Lion, Tourism Australia’s executive general manager for events, said: “This event helps to showcase how incredible the destinations are. Things have changed since the first Dreamtime 25 years ago – and Australia’s appeal as an incentive destination has only grown stronger.
“This is the first time Dreamtime has been held in Brisbane and it’s really an exciting time to do so. Brisbane has already gained a reputation for being a major events hub: it hosted the Science Festival, the G20 [summit] and just concluded the Rugby League World Cup this weekend [December 2]. It also has a solid reputation as a learning, medical research and technology hub.
“Brisbane is a fun, creative city, and we developed a programme that introduces the city’s new products and experiences.”
Several investments and hotel openings for the city were highlighted, including Australia’s first W brand, which is set to open in March; W Melbourne is scheduled for a January 2020 opening.
Brett Fraser, CEO of Brisbane Marketing, told delegates at a welcome lunch that the W, which will overlook the city’s river, has 312-guest rooms planned alongwith 1,100 sqm of meetings and events space. It is set to be followed by a Westin in 2019.
An urban renewal project for the city’s waterfront will see a AU$3.5 billion investment with 2,100 hotel rooms planned for Queen’s Wharf that will include a Ritz-Carlton and a casino hotel.
Fraser said other projects include the Brisbane Quarter development where the W will be based in addition to a cruise terminal investment and regeneration of the city’s wharves.
Brisbane Airport has also been earmarked for $1.35 billion investment to increase its capacity with more direct international flights.