SYDNEY Major new convention and exhibition projects in Australia are expected to complete between 2014 and 2016, Andrew McEvoy, managing director of Tourism Australia, told Mix in his assessment of the destination’s continuing enhancement efforts.
“We know that we rank high with travellers, whether leisure or corporate, for natural beauty and the environment. Things, we, Australians, take for granted like our milk products and the air we breathe are unique to others. But those can’t operate on their own and need to work in tandem with the attractions found in great cosmopolitan cities like Sydney and Melbourne.”
Despite Australia’s high marks through the years with events planners, the market has gotten crowded with rivals posed by the likes of Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, McEvoy observed. “There’s so much competition out there, and Australia now has to move ahead of them.”
Practically all of the country’s established destinations are finalising a new and iconic events venue, if not in the throes of a refurbishing an existing facility. The most dramatic exercise is to be the four-year redevelopment of Sydney’s Darling Harbour that includes a brand-new structure replacing the current Sydney Conference and Exhibition Centre. (During this down time, activities will be farmed out to the Sydney Olympic Centre and the nearby Sydney Harbour Expo@Glebe Island to try to keep the business-as-usual ethic.)
The existing Sydney Conference Centre is to be replaced by 2016
Tourism Australia’s McEvoy listed forthcoming launches: Adelaide’s A$50 million convention centre with a plenary hall for 5,000; Brisbane’s soon-to-open A$59 million Shows Grounds complex; Perth’s convention centre and plenary hall for 12 and half thousand; upcoming venues in the Gold Coast; and the Northern Territory’s planned A$30 million convention centre. Even bucolic Tasmania is now considering converting some heritage space along its scenic wharf into an events district.
McEvoy said: “We’ve had convention facilities in these places for several years, but now it’s time to take these to another level where they are led by design and aesthetics.”
For more information, visit: www.scec.com.au
Margie T Logarta