January 10, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier | ELEVATE Sydney went ahead in the new year | Credit: Destination NSW

A few little snippets of what we missed over the break.

Some events went ahead while others got cancelled

By and large, major New Year’s Eve celebrations went ahead across Australia, although mainstream media reported that numbers were down. The NSW Government also went ahead with their New Year’s festival ELEVATE Sydney on the closed Cahill Expressway. But there were event cancellations over the break too, from a Newcastle music festival which was called off by NSW Health less than a week out from the event, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, to Opera Australia’s scheduled opera event on Cockatoo Island for an expected crowd of thousands on New Year’s Eve. And as the new year settles in, event modifications and postponements continue – the iconic Pier to Pub race in Lorne in Victoria has flipped to virtual just a few days out from the event and the Tamworth Country Music Festival has been postponed until April.

We also heard about closures of hospitality venues due to COVID-19 concerns or staffing shortages due to COVID-19 isolation.

With most people starting to return to work from this week, the impact on business events remains to be seen.

Event wins for Sydney, Perth and Wellington

Business Events Perth has secured the Congress of the International Rock Art Organisations (IFRAO) and the 4th Australian Rock Art Research Association Congress (AURA) for mid-2024. Both events will be held at the University of Western Australia which is also home to the largest academic rock art research and management centre in the world. Together the events are expected to attract upwards of 1,000 delegates who will meet over five days and are projected to spend over $4.8 million. Around the event, delegates will also head out into regional Western Australia to study rock art in-situ for up to eight weeks, which provide a further economic benefit for the state and its regional communities.

BESydney has secured the Australian division of an international robotics competition for December 2022. The VEX Robotics Australia National Championships 2022 will take place at Quay Centre at Sydney Olympic Park and will see students from Year 5 right to university level engage in a STEM-based robotics competition. Over 1,600 attendees are expected across two days.

And in New Zealand, Wellington has signed a multi-year event deal with the New Zealand Game Developers Association which will see the event stay for several years in the capital city, eventually taking up residence in Wellington’s new convention and exhibition centre, Tākina, following its opening next year. As part of the deal, the event will expand its conference remit to include the film, screen and interactive media sectors as the city looks to use the event to further grow its local industry and international reputation in this space.

New hotel openings

Over the break, the 313-room Dorsett Gold Coast opened its doors on Boxing Day, while the new 40-storey Oakwood Premier Melbourne opened in the CBD with 132 rooms, 260 serviced apartments and two event spaces. A new boutique hotel, Kyah Boutique Hotel, opened in the Blue Mountains, after a lux conversion from a 1970s motel, offering 46-rooms and a restaurant and bar called Blaq.  Both the culinary offering and the hotel itself will be overseen by executive chef Mate Herceg who has plenty of local hotel and cuisine experience. In the Whitsunday’s region, Accor has opened The Sebel Whitsundays Airlie Beach, with 54 rooms.

And in renovation news, Novotel Sunshine Coast unveiled renovated rooms, including more luxurious overwater bungalow stays and another new room type for lower level stays.