It’s not hard to see why Adelaide, nicknamed the “Athens of the South” for its Mediterranean-like climate and laid back lifestyle, is a dream both for meetings and incentives, and one of the best cities for incentives overall. Everything is set within one square mile, so planners don’t have to worry about wasting time busing delegates around town—they can easily walk almost anywhere in less than 20 minutes.
“Adelaide is a city coming into full bloom,” says Simon Burgess, the Adelaide Convention Centre’s director of convention & exhibition sales. “It’s been given glowing reviews by Lonely Planet and The New York Times (twice) and it’s undergoing a huge investment in redevelopment that the ACC is right at the heart of it.”
We got a taste of the ACC’s new facilities in the West Building, the first half of the $281 million expansion project completed last year. In 2017, the East Building will be up and running just in time to host the center’s largest event yet, the 68th International Astronautical Congress, bringing 3,500 delegates to the city.
The expansion project is just one sign that groups are looking to up-and-coming destinations like Adelaide when it comes to conferences and events.
“People are looking for new destinations—and they’re looking for new destinations out of the U.S.—and there’s always been a really high perception of Australia,” explains Penny Lion, general manager of Business Events Australia at Tourism Australia. “There’s always a time and a place when a destination becomes hot…and you want to put forward great inspirational ideas about what people can do there and make it really worthwhile for a company to make that decision to come to a long-haul destination. For us, it’s forever proving by Dreamtime that Australia is worthwhile, that the return on investment is very good.”