Celebrations and special events in Canberra during 2013 to mark the 100th anniversary of Australia’s capital has seen a marked growth in conference business, with plenty more to come for the remainder of the year.

BY BRAD FOSTER

The tag-line: “Revisit and re-imagine your national capital and discover the story of our country’s freedom, spirit and achievements and aspirations” is working gangbusters for Canberra which is this year celebrating its centenary.
The Canberra Convention Bureau has recorded a 25 per cent increase in national meetings business which it attributes to the Centenary of Canberra and the initiatives, events and opportunities the year-long celebration has fostered.
A dedicated website – www.canberra100.com.au – is full to the brim with events and programs designed around the centenary, with some savvy planners tapping into what’s available, adding another dimension to their meetings.

Youth and Artist in Conferencing

A special Centenary of Canberra project that is working phenomenally well with the meetings sector is the Youth and Artist in Conferencing initiative.
The concept for the project, developed by Centenary of Canberra creative director Robyn Archer AO, is that gifted young Canberrans and talented Canberra artists will attend conferences, as participants or observers, to allow young people in Canberra to have valuable professional development experiences and Canberra artists to engage in a productive exchange with the ideas of a visiting conference.
It is also hoped that the participation of a young person or artist in a conference may add value to the conference itself, producing unexpected contributions or artistic outcomes. And to date it appears as if that desired outcome is working phenomenally well.
Participation in the conferences by young people or artists are established on a case by case basis depending on the needs and capacity of the individual conferences and the young people or artists with whom they are paired.

Key objectives include:

  • Enrich conferences with new perspectives through the contributions of young people and artists on conference topics;
  • Produce artistic outcomes inspired by conference themes;
  • Provide professional introductions and networks to young people through their participation in or observations of conferences;
  • Provide opportunities for ACT based artists;
  • Incorporate as many talented young people and artists into conferences taking place in Canberra in 2013 as possible.
  • Enhance the perception of Canberra as a city of intellectual and artistic excellence in the minds of conference delegates and organisers, building the positive image and reputation of Canberra as a city and community; and
  • Leave a legacy of professional knowledge in the minds of Canberra’s young leaders and create impetus for the future development of the national capital.
  • All conferences being held in Canberra during 2013 are eligible to participate in the project.
  • The Canberra Convention Bureau, through its THINK CANBERRA initiative, is managing the initiative on behalf of Centenary of Canberra.
  • Conferences that have already been involved to date include:
  • 2013 Water Industry Engineers and Operators Conference (glass artist: Sui Jackson)
  • National Bonsai Convention (print maker: John Hart)
  • National Rural Women’s Conference (resident composer: Ceridwen Suiter)
  • Museums Australia National Conference (visual artist: Katy Mutton)
  • The Dieticians Association of Australia Annual Conference (cartoonist, Andrew Hore)

Numbers up

At the start of 2013 the Canberra Convention Bureau was already seeing that the Canberra Centenary was good for business, with 60 confirmed conferences for the city and more pending.
The CCB has been actively supporting the work of the Centenary over the past few years as the facilitator for the Centenary conference program.
“Bringing people to Canberra in 2013 as conference delegates is a great way to showcase the city particularly as we know from previous research that 70 per cent are likely to return as leisure tourist within five years,” said CEO of the Canberra Convention Bureau, Robyn Hendry.
“We are pleased that the 2013 Centenary of Canberra program features a range of activities that will appeal to all Australians, encouraging everyone to participate in this special occasion. The program has helped to attract 25 per cent more conferences than normal to the city as organisers take advantage of the celebrations.”

micenet AUSTRALIA magazine will be presenting a special feature on Canberra in its August 2013 edition to celebrate the centenary of the Australian capital.

Images supplied courtesy of Australian Capital Tourism.