As the 20-minute city enjoys an unprecedented level of infrastructure investment and development, there’s a flurry of activity surrounding the $3bn Riverbank precinct redevelopment and newly opened SAHMRI. by lauren arena

The Adelaide Convention Bureau, together with its ambassadors, is working to attract more ‘healthy’ business tourism to South Australia.

The bureau has been working closely with the recently opened $200m SA Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) to attract more medical major conventions to the city, with $51 million of events already secured.

Health, pharmaceutical and medical research are high on the business agenda with the SAHMRI and new Royal Adelaide Hospital (due in 2017) and Women’s & Children’s Hospital (2023) set to create a new health precinct in the city’s CBD.

“Our new health precinct will be world-class on so many levels and presents a unique opportunity to position South Australia as the destination of choice for medical conferences,” bureau chief, Damien Kitto, said.

“Health, pharmaceutical and medicine are extremely active fields of business within the business tourism genre. With our soon to be completed convention centre adjacent to the new health precinct, we are positioned perfectly to attract these lucrative events.”
Business events already secured include the 2016 International Symposium on Supportive Care in Cancer, which will attract 1500 of the world’s top supportive care practitioners and researchers, and contribute $5.7 million to the state’s economy.

There are currently another 28 major conferences related to SAHMRI in the pipeline, worth a further $85 million to the region.

The law of sport at the oval

A much lauded location for all things sport, the redeveloped Adelaide Oval is now making its mark as a conference and function venue.

The oval was recently named as the host destination for the 2014 Australian & New Zealand Sports Law Association (ANZSLA) conference in October.

“Adelaide was an easy choice as the host city for this 2014 conference. It is clearly a city on the move and the option to hold the conference at the new Adelaide Oval was one we could not ignore,” ANZSLA president, Venetia Stewart, said.

The conference, which will host 150 delegates from October 22 to 24, is expected to deliver $550,000 to the state economy.

“The Adelaide Oval is a world-class sporting and entertainment venue. However, a significant focus of the stadium’s redevelopment was also to create an outstanding location to host conferences and corporate events – and the new oval delivers just that,” Adelaide Oval SMA CEO, Andrew Daniels, said.

“We have already hosted a number of large conferences and, with 22 events spaces catering for functions of all sizes and formats, the interest in using this unique and iconic venue has been overwhelming.”

The oval’s new stadium includes a leading edge audio-visual system, as well as hospitality suites, open boxes, bars, terraces and food courts.

As part of Tourism Australia’s Dreamtime event in December 2013, Indian delegates were given the opportunity to explore the oval’s $535 million upgrades as they witnessed a test cricket match between Australia and England.

“In 2015 the ICC Cricket World Cup comes to Australia with one of the great rivalries, India v Pakistan playing in Adelaide on March 4.

This is a perfect opportunity for the Indian corporate and incentive market to include a world-class cricket experience as part of an incentive trip to Adelaide and is what we are focusing on with our drive into this market,” bureau chief Damien Kitto said.

New business focus for festival centre

After kick-starting his career in the business events industry at the Adelaide Festival Centre, Darren Sparks returns more than 20 years later as the venue’s new function sales manager to bring meetings back into focus.

Mr Sparks said he wants to reintroduce the venue to corporate and association groups as a place to hold meetings.

“Previously the venue contracted on cocktail functions and dinners, but now we’re working to reinvigorate the MICE industry, and let people know that the centre is also a place to meet and do business.

“At AIME we launched our new marketing collateral, which really showcases the venue’s capabilities, and we received a great response from buyers,” he said.

The centre is already set to host an international conference, with 200 delegates, in December and is working closely with local and national PCOs to encourage more people to do business in South Australia.

Since the opening of the new Riverbank Footbridge in March this year – which connects the centre directly to the Adelaide Oval – Mr Sparks said foot traffic into the area has increased.

“We’ve opened up a new outdoor deck area, the River deck, where we host a pop-up bar on game day at the Adelaide Oval… and with work on the Riverbank development well underway, and stage one of the new convention centre almost complete, it’s electric here in Adelaide at the moment,” he said. m