The sun never sets on the Gold Coast as the city prepares for the 2018 Commonwealth Games with a renewed focus on the international business events and incentives sector.
BY LAUREN ARENA
Gold Coast Tourism has pledged to commit more resources to the international meetings industry in the lead up to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games as well as strengthen its influence in the Chinese market.
Gold Coast Tourism chief executive, Martin Winter, said the recently rebranded Gold Coast Business Events (previously known as the Gold Coast Convention Bureau) will focus on increasing market share of incentive business out of China and awareness of the destination in second tier cities.
“Over the next 12 months GCT has committed even more resources to its work in China. There are a number of leisure campaigns with key wholesale partners planned, a host of customised marketing and media content, and a focus on cultural service training for Gold Coast products to enhance the experience for our Chinese delegates and visitors,” Mr Winter said.
Business events contribute significantly to the success of the city with high yield corporate visitors spending up to five times that of the average leisure traveller.
Mr Winter said the recent re-branding of the convention bureau in July signaled the division’s contemporary role in the evolution of the Gold Coast as a leading business events destination.
“Our primary focus for the business events sector right now is to identify and attract potential events to the Gold Coast in the lead up to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. We’re excited about the games and the potential to leverage off world-wide attention to attract more corporate visitors and create long-term business connections,” he said.
The Gold Coast holds a 46 per cent market share of all business events hosted in Queensland and corporate visitors to the Gold Coast stay an average 4.5 days, which is twice as long as time spent in other major cities throughout Queensland.
“The corporate visitor sector is a key part of the Gold Coast tourism industry, contributing significantly to our success in terms of yield and influence. Over the past two years alone we have secured 2434 conferences, congresses, incentives and corporate meetings worth more than $543 million to the local economy.
“We’re a united city and, with plans for improved world-class infrastructure and tourism products that are sure to bring solid dividends to the business events sector, we are gearing up for an extraordinary opportunity of city revival,” Mr Winter said.
The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) has also been working to retain its competitive edge, taking out the national award for ‘best meeting venue for 500 delegates or more’ at this year’s Meetings and Events Australia (MEA)National Awards held in May.
GCCEC general manager, Adrienne Readings, said the accolade has cemented the centre’s position as a market leader.
“As Australia’s largest regional convention centre, the GCCEC has once again proved that the nation’s top leisure destination is also a favoured business destination,” she said.
“It’s such an honour to be named the ‘best venue’ in the country. It demonstrates to the industry that our world-class venue and our stunning destination is a winner.”
Supporting this, GCCEC recently launched a new advertising campaign. Officially introduced last month the ‘love is in the details’ campaign makes its exclusive debut in this issue of micenet AUSTRALIA (see page 89) and is an extension of the venue’s previous ‘love what you do; we do’ campaign, celebrating the centre’s most unique asset – its dedicated staff.
The new campaign features the stories of five staff members who go above and beyond to fulfil the needs of clients, taking the utmost care in executing even the smallest details. The best part about the campaign is that all the stories are true!
“Sometimes it’s attention to the smallest detail that influences the overall event experience for our clients and ensures entertainment and business events on the Gold Coast remain world-class,” Ms Readings said.
Hilton Surfers Paradise transport update
With the construction of the Gold Coast’s new light rail system well underway, Hilton Surfers Paradise will soon be one of the few properties with a light rail station at its front door.
The first stage of the light rail is due to open mid 2014 (insiders say it’s on track for early completion), and to celebrate the hotel will be offering special rates and packages, including transfers to the Gold Coast Convention Centre, which will only be a short seven minute ride away from the hotel.
The property also recently released an off-site dinner package. Competing with the likes of Sea World, Australian Outback Spectacular and Draculas Cabaret, the off-site dinner package offers the hotel’s spectacular poolside oasis as a backdrop and comes with DJs, live entertainment and Hilton’s very own awe-inspiring mermaids.
For information phone (07) 5680 8150 or visit www.hiltonevents.com.au
Life’s a boat
Organisers of this year’s Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS) have hailed the event, which also celebrated its 25th anniversary, a resounding success. The four-day event held in May saw more than 40,000 local and international visitors flock to Sanctuary Cove for a piece of the action. Boat-lovers were spoilt for choice as more than 300 exhibitors showcased the latest and greatest in marine products and services, including superyachts, luxury power cruisers, kayaks and jetskis. The event reportedly raked in more than $30 million for the local economy, including a major sale by Gold Coast manufacturer, Maritimo, which sold its 58-foot fly bridge cruiser for more than $2 million to a Gold Coast buyer.
Sanctuary Cove executive general manager, Keith Allardice, said even in its 25th year, the show provides a significant boost to the Gold Coast and Queensland economy.
“We hope SCIBS will continue to be the flagship event at Sanctuary Cove for many years to come. This year’s success demonstrates we are well and truly alive and a leading event in Queensland that attracts people from all over the country and around the world,” Mr Allardice said.
In 2014, SCIBS will run from Thursday, May 22 to Sunday, May 25.
Arundel Hills to host golf championship
The private and exclusive Arundel Hills Country Club will host the 18th annual Mitsubishi Motors World Masters Golf Championship on the Gold Coast in October this year. The venue is said to be one of the Gold Coast’s best and most challenging layouts and, after new owners took over the course in 2012, significant improvements have been made to course conditioning as well as a brand new fleet of golf carts. The masters attracts golfers from all over Australia and abroad to what is considered Australia’s best week of golf for club golfers. The country club joins the Greg Norman designed Glades, Jack Nicklaus signature Lakelands and RACV Royal Pines Resort to host the four-round tournament from October 20 to 26, where more than 1000 players and spectators are expected to attend. More than $120,000 worth of prizes will be on offer at the seven-day event, which is open to male and female golfers over the age of 35 along with an official handicap.
A whale of a time
Whale watching season is well underway as thousands of visitors flock to the Gold Coast to get up close and personal with the world’s largest living mammals.
As the annual migration of southern humpback whales journey along Australia’s east coast, the waters along the Gold Coast become a ‘humpback highway’ with up to 25,000 viewing opportunities on the Queensland coastline.
Gold Coast whale watching departure points include Marina Mirage, Sea World, Sea World Resort, The Spit, Surfers Paradise, Runaway Bay Marina and Coolangatta/Tweed Heads Golf Club and, running from June through to November, the Gold Coast boasts the longest whale watching season in the country.
Throughout the season onlookers can catch a glimpse of the enormous humpback whale alongside dolphins, killer whales, and Migaloo, the world-famous white humpback who was reportedly spotted in June this year making his way to the Great Barrier Reef.
Nocturnal rainforest tours
As the sun sets over the Gold Coast’s beaches and shores, its rainforests come alive with glow worms and nocturnal wildlife. Capitalising on the night-time activity, touring company Southern Cross 4WD recently launched the only nocturnal 4WD safari in Australia.
The new nightly tours showcase the best of what Mother Nature has to offer with a guided walk through the deep, dark depths of Mt Tamborine National Park where attendees observe nocturnal flora and fauna, frolic with glow worms and wildlife and trek through eucalyptus forests. Tours kick off at sunset as attendees are driven off-road to the top of Tamborine Mountain to view the Gold Coast’s city skyline and enjoy a light supper of freshly baked treats, coffee and tea.
As night falls, the nocturnal exploration begins and frogs, geckos, snails and glow worms come out to say hello on the secluded rainforest walk. This is one of the region’s most comprehensive nocturnal rainforest tours and private tours are also available.
Beachfront rewards at Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa
To celebrate its newly refurbished beachside conference space, Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa on the Gold Coast is offering three nights in a deluxe ocean suite and breakfast for two for bookings made before October 31, 2013. At the heart of the upgrade is an all new audio-visual system with high definition projectors and a digital cable network. The $100,000 upgrade builds on the recently installed 16:9 format screens and drape tab track systems, while rechargeable and cordless LED lighting fixtures and the supply of Apple MacBook Pro laptops further expand the flexibility of the onsite inventory.
Phone +61 7 5577 0050 or visit www.sheratonmiragegoldcoast.com.au
Conference upgrade at Mantra Broadbeach
Mantra Broadbeach on the Park can now boast a stunning new meeting room and breakout area following the completion of a $35,000 upgrade to its conferencing space in the heart of Broadbeach. Ensuring business is done in style, new carpets and furnishings, and an expanded desk space mean the facility can now accommodate up to 40 people. To celebrate, the hotel is offering delegates a chance to experience the new look at old prices. Day delegate packages start from $44 per person and are on offer until the end of September 2013.
For bookings and enquiries contact +61 7 5592 3152
Dynamic ideas at Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise
Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise is offering conference organisers a wealth of rewards for bookings confirmed this year and held before December 30, 2014. Rewards range from complimentary internet access and hotel dining vouchers, to VIP limousine transfers from Gold Coast Airport. The available selection of reward options is dependent upon the total event value.
For more information contact +61 7 5592 9900
or visit www.crowneplazasurfersparadise.com.au
New village hub in Surfers Paradise
A fresh new precinct is set to open in Surfers Paradise later this year, transforming the old transit centre into a vibrant village hub to be known as ‘The 4217’. The newly designed creative space will feature a collection of ethically-aware providores, including Paradox Roasters – a modern coffee house with onsite coffee roasting, an authentic Italian gelateria and bakery, chocolatier, boutique micro-brewery, fresh food delicatessen and spice market.
The ever-evolving hub is the vision of husband and wife team James Rodger and Danielle Saleh who say the space will also be dedicated to supporting the local artistic community. Resident artists will feature prominently in the space as the work of contemporary Australian artists is integrated in and around the precinct.
The first art collaboration, a huge three-storey street-art mural painted by renowned Australian street artists Beastman and Jae Copp, was unveiled in April this year. The mural will be continually re-imagined and re-painted by different artists to provide the community with a truly unique and evolving piece of public art.
“The 4217 will be a vibrant bustling village where guests will experience a true local community atmosphere reminiscent of a local township. The village will provide local residents and tourists with specialised high quality local food offerings in an ever-evolving creative space,” Ms Saleh said.
Specialist dining, art and retail outlets will also be on offer as well as office tenancies and a neighbouring 1200 space car park.The 4217 is located on the corner of Beach Road and Ferny Avenue. m
For more information about the project, please visit www.the4217.com