Planners join the stampede

Savvy meeting and incentive planners got a taste of Alice Springs in mid-September with plenty of favourable comments about the destination.

An exciting mega-familiarisation was staged in Alice Springs in mid-September. A group of 18 corporate and association event planners, as well as PCOs from throughout Australia and New Zealand, participated in the four-day Alice Stampede program.

A joint initiative of the Alice Springs Convention Centre and the Northern Territory Convention Bureau (NTCB), the famil showcased the world-class facilities, venues, accommodation, activities and services that are now readily available in Alice Springs.

Highlights of the Thursday to Sunday event included a bike ride and camel trek through the spectacular outback country, a taste of Alice Springs’ quirkier group activity options, and the opportunity to experience the rich indigenous culture that pervades Central Australia.

A business forum enabled participants to learn more about local NT businesses and industry with relevance to the business events sector, while a visit to one of the town’s not-for-profit organisations provided a very special hands-on corporate social responsibility (CSR) experience.
Famil participants were accommodated at Lasseters Hotel Casino in the premium 66-room hotel wing which opened last year, while the creative social program provided a sampling of a number of Alice Springs’ iconic and unforgettable offsite dinner locations.

Director of business tourism with the NTCB, Scott Lovett, said, “We were delighted to once again undertake this joint initiative with the Alice Springs Convention Centre. We have no doubt that Alice Stampede has opened eyes as well as minds regarding the exotic appeal of a town like Alice. We’re quietly confident that the famil will produce strong results for the region, as was the case with the inaugural event in 2012.”

Sand dunes influence new Lasseters restaurant

Lasseters Hotel Casino will be opening a brand new 180 seat restaurant this month (October). To be known as ‘Tali’, an Indigenous word meaning ‘sand dunes’, the restaurant’s colour palette, carpet design, artwork and landscaping will all reflect the sand dune theme.
Diners will have the choice of sitting inside or outdoors on a shaded deck and there will be two private rooms with capacity for approximately 10 and 20 guests. For bigger groups, these rooms can be combined to create an extended venue for up to 32 guests.

The garden will feature shrubs, trees, grasses and flowers local to the area, with a miniature ‘Todd River’ running its entire length. The best features of the garden will be strategically lit to ensure attractive evening vistas for diners.
Tali will be open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on the weekends.
The new restaurant is part of an ongoing $35 million venue-wide redevelopment project at Lasseters. A new hotel reception area plus fitness and massage treatment centre should be completed by mid-2014.

Central Australia sees Ashes action

Alice Springs’ capability as a large event destination will be highlighted when it hosts the Australian Cricket Board’s Chairman’s XI match, due to be held in late November at the Traeger Park ground.
This two-day game between Australia and England forms part of the official program for the Ashes Tour of Australia. Corporate packages are available and provide an added incentive to consider Alice Springs for a conference later this year.

The Chairman’s XI event will be held in the period between the first two test matches, which are due to be played in Brisbane and Adelaide respectively.
Uluru runs a different race
Voyages Ayers Rock Resort recently hosted the 4th Australian Outback Marathon, with around 300 participants from more than 25 countries participating in the full marathon, half marathon and two fun runs, which were held on a course with spectacular views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

With all levels of running ability covered, this annual event offers planners an opportunity to combine fitness and conferencing, by incorporating one of the fun runs into a conference program. In 2013, the event also had a CSR component, with the combined sponsorship support of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia and the marathon race organiser Travelling Fit, enabling 40 students from the local Pipalyatjara Anangu, Ernabella Anangu and Amata Schools to participate in the event. The next annual Australia Outback Marathon will be held on Saturday, July 26 2014. m

Symphony in the outback

In mid-October this year, the Northern Territory will host a world-first when the Darwin Symphony Orchestra (DSO) performs two exclusive concerts at iconic Uluru.
This is the first time such an event has been held at this amazing location and is set to place a spotlight on the Territory’s unique art, culture and natural landscapes, as well as highlight the creative event possibilities.
The first performance will see the DSO partnering with Opera Australia principal artists, while the second is to be a showcase of Indigenous and contemporary Australian music, including James Morrison and William Barton. m

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