The second This is Gold Coast Business Exchange proved that big isn’t always beautiful.

The three-day mid-June tradeshow and Gold Coast showcase had just 45 association and corporate meeting planners from around Australia and South East Asia, and that number appeared just right for the local exhibitors and participants.

It was a simple program that combined one-on-one meetings between hosted buyers and Gold Coast participants in an exhibition format with the showcasing of some key operators, venues, and experiences.

Gold Coast Tourism director of business events, Anna Case, said the event recognises the intrinsic value of ‘seeing is believing’.

“The Gold Coast’s enviable reputation as a destination that has it all when it comes to delivering exceptional events continues to gain momentum,” Ms Case said.

“This is Gold Coast 2015 is the perfect opportunity to showcase our infrastructure, range of product, and the professional services on offer as the Gold Coast continues to rival Australia’s capital cities as the best choice.

“This event offers meeting planners the opportunity to experience an incredibly compelling demonstration of the Gold Coast’s allure, while at the same time facilitating the most efficient one-stop shop to research and plan their next conference or meeting.”

And from an observer’s point of view, it appeared to do just that.

An afternoon arrival for delegates preceded site inspections of participating hotels followed by a welcome function event at the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove with theming by Staging Connections.

A delightful breakfast courtesy of the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre – with many delegates travelling to the centre via the new light rail system – was followed by a full day of business meetings, with lunch at the centre and beautiful styling by Solution Red.

Dinner was courtesy of Jupiters Hotel & Casino, with pre-dinner drinks and canapes around its new pool area, followed by entertainment and a sit-down meal, with the event created by Dreamweavers. The transfer from accommodation by limousine was a nice touch.

After kicking up their heels delegates the next day did various site-inspections including Sea World Resort’s new conference centre.

Many hosted buyers said they were planning events for the Gold Coast and if they weren’t would be recommending the destination for events in the future.

CSR initiative

As a special offering for this event, Gold Coast Business Events, the centre and Solution Red created the Wildlife Wishing Tree.

The tree was located in the exhibition hall with Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation staff onsite with a koala, endangered bilby, and snake. In future, conference groups meeting on the Gold Coast can incorporate the Wildlife Wishing Tree into their programs and make a donation to the foundation as a CSR activity. Dreamworld has a bilby breeding program, and estimates there are only around 200 left in the wild.