Tourism NT is sharpening its business events focus with the appointment of Suzanne Morgan to a key role.

Appointed to the position of executive director business & market segments at Tourism NT in May, Suzanne Morgan is no stranger to the activity of the Northern Territory Convention Bureau. Since 2000 she has held a range of senior management positions at Tourism NT, with the bureau falling under her area of responsibility.

That knowledge and an early career grounding in business events in the Americas, which she describes as “essentially the cradle for the now-global conventions and incentives sector”, should see the local bureau sharpen its focus even further on the competitive business events market.

“It’s undoubtedly a challenging and diverse sector but at the same time opens up huge opportunities for our destinations, not only for business events but also for the economic and community wellbeing of the Northern Territory,” Morgan says.

“My wide-ranging portfolio also presents an opportunity for me to raise the profile of business events across government and ensure greater awareness of its value and contribution to the economic and intellectual development of the Territory.

Vital sector

With business events generating an estimated $89 million in expenditure for the NT, Ms Morgan says it is imperative the sector continues to grow.

“Business events held in the NT give us an invaluable opportunity to showcase our outstanding destinations, products and professionals, attract investors, develop legacy assets and intelligence, sustain our air access and overcome the challenges of seasonality that can occur with leisure tourism,” she says.

“We know that our destination’s appeal and ‘never-been-before’ status often contributes to strong attendance and participation at business events held in the NT, which is usually music to an event planner’s ears. We have two state-of-the-art convention centres, hotels and resorts as well as exclusive wilderness lodges and retreats, all of which offer a wide range of venues for conferences, meetings and incentives.

“Not only does the NT offer fantastic experiences and venues but it’s also an integral part of the Federal Government’s Northern Australia development plans. The NT is forecast to be Australia’s second fastest growing economy over the next five years and there is an air of excitement and prosperity with projects such as the $34 million Ichthys LNG Project now underway in the Top End providing a good example.

“The NT Convention Bureau has long been working outside the tourism industry to develop relationships across a range of business and industry sectors. These include areas of NT speciality such as renewable energy, oil & gas, desert knowledge, health, primary industry and education.”

New product

Ms Morgan says in recent months there has been a wealth of new product coming online in the NT. These include:

  • The A$150 million Élan Soho Suites. The property adds 301 new accommodation options to Darwin’s portfolio. It joins the 186-room H Hotel, which opened in Darwin in 2013.
  • In Kakadu National Park, international hotel operator Accor has taken over management of the 110-room Crocodile Hotel and the 48-room Cooinda Lodge.
  • Outback Floatplane Adventures now offers incentive planners an extraordinary outback adventure option for high-flying achievers. The ultimate Top End safari day includes a scenic floatplane flight from Darwin, a breathtaking helicopter trip to Litchfield National Park, and a billabong cruise into the heart of crocodile country.
  • Qantas has increased domestic service frequency into Darwin. Additional flights have been added to four key routes, being Darwin to Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. At the same time, Tigerair has also introduced a new daily service between Brisbane and Darwin.
  • Lasseters hotel in Alice Springs recently opened a new 120 seat restaurant called ‘Tali’. It offers inside and outdoor dining, with two private dining rooms catering for 10 and 20 guests respectively. Lasseters will also shortly be opening a new hotel reception area, pool cafe and fitness centre as part of its ongoing A$35 million venue-wide redevelopment project.
  • Jetstar has just launched its first direct services between Melbourne and Uluru, making it the only scheduled carrier to offer non-stop flights between the two destinations.