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18 Jun, 2008

Aussies Invest A$3.75b in M.I.C.E. Infrastructure

New travel & tourism infrastructure to the value of an estimated AU$3.75 billion has emerged recently all over Australia, and is continuing to emerge.

In this dispatch:







New travel & tourism infrastructure to the value of an estimated AU$3.75 billion has emerged recently all over Australia, and is continuing to emerge. The new products cater to a wide range of premium incentives and corporate meetings, association conferences and conventions supported by the latest technology and architectural design. This overview compiled by Tourism Australia’s Business Events unit provides a guide to the new developments, arranged in the following categories: Convention Centres, Accommodation, Incentive Infrastructure and Transport Developments.


<> Alice Springs Convention Centre, Northern Territory: The 1,200 seat centre completed its soft refurbishment in April 2008. Adjoining the Convention Centre, Limericks Inn at the Lasseters Hotel Casino is undergoing redevelopment, to be known by the new name of The Juicy Rump. This venue will include new dining/event areas, all with spectacular views of the MacDonnell Ranges.

<> Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Queensland has announced an AU$130 million expansion. Due to open in mid 2010, the new design incorporates five levels of boutique convention and event space. Three plenary halls covering meetings from 400 to 8,000 delegates, two ballrooms, three speaker presentation centres and six executive boardrooms will boost capacity significantly.

<> Darwin Convention Centre, Northern Territory, a multi-purpose 1,500 seat facility, opened in June 2008. Overlooking the sea only minutes’ walk to the Darwin CBD, it features highly flexible and adaptive spaces. Making the most of Darwin’s spectacular weather, the Centre has been designed to breathe fresh air into every event.

<> The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Queensland, will double its exhibition space by mid-November 2008. This will complete an extension of two additional halls to a total exhibition capacity of 10,000m². The 3,000m² extension provides more space to cater for larger events for up to 4,000 delegates.

<> Melbourne Convention Centre, Victoria, already Australia’s biggest exhibition space, will soon become Australia’s largest combined convention and exhibition precinct. The new 5,000-seat Melbourne Convention Centre opens in 2009 and has recently been awarded a ‘Six-Star Green Star’ environmental rating. Eighteen events are already confirmed for the new Centre, attracting almost 44,000 delegates with an economic impact of AU$293 million.

<> Canberra’s National Convention Centre, Australian Capital Territory, recently underwent an AU$30 million refurbishment, with upgrades to technology, security and catering. It can now cater for business events for up to 2,500 delegates.


<> The Hotel Realm in Barton is Canberra’s newest five star hotel, offering 158 rooms and suites, a state of the art gymnasium, day spa, three restaurants and meeting facilities for up to 800 delegates.

<> Chifley Potts Point, Sydney, reopened in February 2008 after an AU$20 million refurbishment. The 4½ star hotel features 227 rooms and is in the heart of the Kings Cross dining and entertainment precinct.

<> Emirates Wolgan Valley, Regional NSW, is due to open in September 2009, a conservation-based resort in Australia’s Great Dividing Range with views of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. Set among 4,000 acres of conservancy reserve land between two national parks, the AU$100 million resort will offer 40 individual suites with meeting and business facilities for up to 90 delegates, boardroom, gymnasium and library. Delegates will have the opportunity to participate actively in wildlife protection and habitat management.

<> The Fraser Suites, Sydney, is an all-suite apartment hotel, located in the heart of the city. The 42 level glass tower has 201 suites and embodies the virtues of light, space and innovation. Fraser Suites Sydney specialises in small to medium meetings, catering for up to 140 delegates.

<> Pullman Hotel Sydney Olympic Park will showcase 210 rooms, 340m² of conference space, pre-function areas, boardroom, executive lounge, and restaurant.

<> Medina Executive Wollongong, Regional NSW, opened in March 2008, in the centre of Wollongong, offering 71 studio rooms and one bedroom apartments. The hotel caters for meetings of up to 110 delegates.

<> The Quest Apartments, Alice Springs, opened in January 2008, with 68 apartments. Located on South Terrace just 1.3km from the Alice Springs Convention Centre, it offers self-contained apartments along with conferencing facilities for up to 50 delegates.

<> Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, Alice Springs, opened in April 2008 and is situated at the five star Sails in the Desert Hotel at the resort, giving delegates the chance to indulge in a massage or spa treatment.

<> The Crowne Plaza Darwin is a 235-room hotel now undergoing refurbishment.

<> Dugong Beach Resort, opened in July 2007 and is located on Groote Eylandt on the Gulf of Carpentaria, a 30-minute flight from Darwin. The resort is situated on 25 hectares of coastline and consists of business suites and bungalows, conference and gym facilities, with a large restaurant.

<> Mantra Pandanas, Darwin, rises 28 levels in Darwin’s CBD, overlooking Darwin Harbour. It comprises 330 studio, one and two bedroom apartments and conferencing space, features include a restaurant and day spa.

<> Emporium Hotel, Brisbane, opened in June 2007, a boutique property with 106 suites, each featuring contemporary finishes and premium facilities in the heart of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.

<> Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel, Brisbane, one of Queensland’s most iconic hotels, reopened in July 2007 following a multi-million dollar redevelopment. It now offers function facilities suitable for conferences, seminars and special events of up to 150 delegates. In addition, the new hotel complex offers a range of accommodation options and a day spa.

<> Cairns Colonial Club, set in 11 acres of tropical gardens, the 345-room resort will complete an AU$5 million refurbishment at the end of July 2008.

<> Cairns International Hotel is already one of the largest hotel meeting facilities in Tropical North Queensland. It is embarking on an AU$3million refurbishment of its lobby, café and pool area. The hotel offers functions for 250 to 600 delegates, including a heritage-style boardroom.

<> Grand Mecure Rockford Esplanade, Cairns, underwent a multi-million dollar refurbishment. situated in Palm Cove, it features meeting space for up to 240 delegates with resort-style apartments and beachfront bar and dining.

<> Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel and Residences, Gold Coast, is under construction with 170 rooms and 340 apartments. The 32-storey residential Boulevard Tower is due for completion in early 2009, and the 57-storey Orchid Tower, with both residential and hotel suites, is to follow in early 2010. It will include a street level shopping emporium.

<> Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, is an A$6 million renovation project due for completion soon, covering all 314 rooms. The lobby and restaurant have been redesigned and the meeting facilities will be extended to increase capacity for business events.

<> The Sebel Harbour Lights, Cairns, is a newly-built Mirvac property on Cairns’ waterfront with views over Trinity Inlet and the marina. It offers 114 apartments and meeting space for up to 80 delegates.

<> Rydges Sabaya Resort is located in Port Douglas and reopened in early 2008 after full re-development of its 192 rooms and apartments, as well as five conference rooms for up to 350 delegates.

<> Crowne Plaza Royal Pines Golf Resort and Spa, Gold Coast, has refurbished its rooms, reception and swimming pool areas, seafood buffet restaurant and coffee lounge. The Angsana Spa specialises in organic products, holistic treatments and traditionally Thai-trained therapists. It also offers a 27-hole golf course.

<> Gold Coast International, located in the heart of Surfers Paradise, is one of the Coast’s largest conference and event venues. The refurbished Grand Ballroom, which can now take up to 750 delegates, offers refreshing interiors with modern fittings.

<> O’Reilly’s Mountain Villas and Lost World Spa, Gold Coast, is located in the World Heritage listed Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland. Due for completion in July 2008, the venue will include an AU$5 million Conference Lifestyle Centre as well as 48 two and three bedroom villas.

<> Outrigger Hotels & Resorts will manage the AU$300+ million Viridian Resort & Spa on the Sunshine Coast due to open in 2009. The 192-unit resort & spa is located on Noosa Hill, bordered by the Noosa National Park and overlooking the Laguna Bay and Hastings Street precinct. It will feature 11 buildings centred around the largest conference facilities in the region.

<> qualia, Hamilton Island, opened in mid 2007, on the secluded northern tip of Hamilton Island, featuring 60 one-bedroom pavilions. Delegates can access Spa qualia, a gym and yoga centre, along with pools and restaurants.

<> Crowne Plaza Adelaide, due for competition in 2009, is part of an A$150 million multi-use development, including a 314 room hotel and adjoining apartment complex. The hotel will offer meeting and event space on the top floor as well as restaurants, business centre, swimming pool and fitness club.

<> Port Lincoln Hotel, Regional South Australia, is a recently-opened four-star beachfront property with 111 rooms, conference and function facilities, restaurant, gym and swimming pool. Port Lincoln is well established as an incentive destination, offering shark diving and aquaculture experiences.

<> Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, opened in early 2008 as Australia’s first world class ‘super lodge’. It offers 25 suites, restaurant and spa. From atop a secluded cliff, the property commands views of the Southern Ocean and Kangaroo Island wilderness.

<> Travelodge Docklands, Melbourne, is expected to open in 2010 in the Melbourne CBD, with 290 delegate rooms and two conference rooms. It is the first new property to be built under the Travelodge banner in Melbourne and will be located adjacent to Docklands Stadium.

<> Hilton South Wharf, Melbourne, the only hotel located on-site at the new Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre, is scheduled to open in early 2009. It will comprise 364 rooms and an Executive Club and Lounge complete with business centre facilities. Another property, the Hilton on the Park, is undergoing an AU$40 million makeover. The Hotel’s dedicated conference and events floor, including the Grand Ballroom, will receive a multi-million dollar renovation.

<> Crown Hotel, Melbourne, is to be the third hotel in the Crown Entertainment Complex, an AU$300 million, 658-room venue created to cater for conventions and conferences. A further AU$40 million will be spent on new conference facilities including 50 exhibition booths, seven hi-tech conference meeting rooms and an 800-seat plenary hall. The new hotel is due for completion in May 2010. In addition, Crown Towers will receive an AU$65 million upgrade, while Crown Melbourne will spend AU$140 million to refurbish the main gaming floor.

<> Grand Hyatt, Melbourne, has begun an AU$40 million renovation of the hotel’s lobbies and entrances. A new events venue called The Residence will accommodate groups from 10 to 640 delegates. The renovation is due for completion in January 2009.

<> Rialto, Melbourne, Melbourne’s Gothic 240-room Rialto Hotel is undergoing an AU$50 million refurbishment to become a 252-room Intercontinental Hotel. The Rialto will be overhauled with new reception facilities and two restaurants.

<> The Sheraton Perth recently completed multi-million dollar refurbishment which includes a meeting facility, 96 executive rooms and suites, an Executive Club Lounge, restaurant and gym.


<> Centennial Parklands, Sydney, is revamping its restaurant facilities, due for completion in mid-2008. Capturing the vista of the Park’s green space, the fine dining restaurant and contemporary café will be a popular location for gala dinners, cocktail receptions and incentive dining.

<> Flagship Charters, Sydney, represent a select fleet of charter boats. In late 2007, the Bella Vista was launched on Sydney Harbour. The three-level glass ballroom boasts three-metre-high glass windows, wrap-around decks and an open top deck.

<> Greater Union George Street, Sydney, has been refurbished to offer four Gold Class cinemas each seating up to 60 delegates, two GMAX Auditoriums with 20 metre screens seating up to 500 delegates and 10 Senstadium cinemas with bar and dining facilities.

<> Grand Pavilion, Rosehill Gardens, Sydney, can accommodate conferences, awards nights, gala dinners, product launches, incentives, exhibitions and other special events, with a capacity of up to 2,000 delegates.

<> Harbours Edge – Events Centre, Sydney, opened in late 2007 in the Darling Harbour precinct. The venue caters for groups from a meeting for 50 to a cocktail party for up to 1,200 delegates.

<> The Museum of Sydney has upgraded facilities with its tiered ‘AGL Theatre’. It now has improved seating, furnishings and Audiovisual facilities designed to cater for a range of business meetings and events. The AGL Theatre now allows for the staging 100% accredited green events across all museum spaces.

<> Q Station, Sydney, has recently opened near Manly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Formerly the Quarantine station, it underwent nine years of planning and restoration and now has over 75 rooms, seven conference rooms and The Boilerhouse Restaurant. A spa is due to open in September 2008.

<> Sydney Opera House is undergoing AU$38 million worth of refurbishments due for completion in 2009. This includes the western foyers interior, construction of the Bennelong lift and improved access to the Concert Hall and Opera Theatre southern foyers. The Opera House was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

<> Crocosaurus Cove, Darwin, features the NT saltwater crocodile and everything ‘crocodile’ related. The AU$29 million project is set over 5,000m². Enormous adult crocodiles are on display in specially designed tanks and visitors view nests, hatchlings and yearlings. Available for cocktail functions with a difference.

<> Conrad Jupiters, Gold Coast, is celebrating a new casino refurbishment and a live theatre show. The biggest casino upgrade in its 21-year history included the expansion of the gaming floor and the construction of balconies with views of the Gold Coast skyline. An A$16 million hotel upgrade and refurbishment of the Pavilion Ballroom and the hotel’s convention area

<> Hamilton Island is undergoing an AU$200 million transformation with a commitment to create the most desirable island destination in the South Pacific. Hamilton Island Golf Course will open in early 2009 as Australia’s only 18-hole island golf course. The Peter Thompson designed course will offer 360-degree views of the spectacular Whitsundays. The Hamilton Island Yacht Club will open in early 2009, to be located at the entrance of the Hamilton Island Marina, featuring conference and function facilities as well as a private members area.

<> MV Fantasea Ammari, Whitsundays, is a 60-metre, 32-cabin cruise ship which began operating cruises to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands in January 2008. It also handles corporate functions for up to 200 delegates, offering both day and overnight charters. The ship contains a conference/lounge bar area, day spa, swimming pool, fitness centre and a number of other on and off board activities.

<> Adelaide Showground will soon get a new exhibition facility that will extend its ability to accommodate exhibitions, special events, trade shows and major catered functions from October 2008. The new facility will consist of a 9,000m² exhibition space and 16,000m² landscaped outdoor exhibition and entertainment area. The project also features energy saving design characteristics and has underground tanks able to store 3.5 million litres of water.

<> Freycinet Peninsula is a new five-star tourism project on the Freycinet Peninsula set to be launched this year. The new development will feature 22 suites with a premium restaurant, day spa centre, gymnasium, sauna and a lap pool.

<> Pure Tasmania’s Piners and Miners, Strahan, experience at Strahan includes a 4WD journey by road and rail deep into wilderness where piners once cut and floated out valuable Huon Pine. The return journey by a cruise vessel provides unique World Heritage scenery along the King River. Piners and Miners opened in early 2007.

<> Redbanks Fish and Field opened in July 2007, and offers a complete outdoor experience only 45 minutes from Hobart. Trout fishing, clay target shooting, small bore rifle shooting, archery and aqua golf make for a challenging and competitive day for corporate groups.

<> Docklands Precinct, Melbourne, is now home to four waterside venues at Shed 14 Central Pier capable of accommodating up to 2,500 delegates for cocktails. The rapidly-evolving docklands will also be home to the Southern Star Observation Wheel and Harbour Town, expected to open in late 2008. The new Harbour Town will offer 41,000m² of shopping centre with over 200 shops. A food and entertainment precinct will offer a broad range of international cuisine.

<> Southern Star Observation Wheel, Melbourne, is due to open in late 2008, an 120-metre structure offering 360-degree views of Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay. Twenty-one glass capsules, with a capacity of up to 20 people each, lift guests in an orbit of around 30 minutes. The Wheel can cater for a range of events and is located in the CBD. The Star Room in the Southern Star building can hold up to 300 delegates and the open-air Star Piazza caters for up to 3,000.

<> Victory Room, Telstra Dome, Melbourne, is celebrating the relaunch of its refurbished function delegates space, the Victory Room and Promenade. Comprising a terrace overlooking the Docklands’ waterfront and a view of the Stadium’s arena, the Victory Room and Promenade have a capacity of 1,250 delegates for banquets or over 3,000 for cocktail parties.

<> Burswood Entertainment Complex, Perth, has launched two new meeting venues. ‘The Astral’ ballroom features seven retractable screens, while the MINQ Bar and Lounge offers a number of private function spaces catering for up to 100 delegates.

<> Seashells Caves House Hotel Yallingup, Margaret River, opened in January 2008, Seashells Caves House is located at Yallingup, near the Margaret River region. An ideal venue for a management retreat, the beautifully restored, heritage-listed Caves House Hotel features 36 new rooms and a choice of two fully-equipped function rooms catering for up to 180 delegates. An outdoor function area can cater for up to 120 delegates.


<> Adelaide Tram has a new line extension since October 2007. With the purchase of new trams and an upgrade of the Victoria Square to North Terrace and Glenelg lines, conference delegates can now catch the tram directly outside the Adelaide Convention Centre.

<> Brisbane Airport is undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion of its international terminal, due to finish by end 2008. The expansion will enable it to accommodate new generation aircraft.

<> Cairns Domestic Terminal Redevelopment has begun an A$200 million redevelopment that will enable this gateway to the Great Barrier Reef region boost passenger handling and security. It will have five modern aerobridges catering for new aircraft types and improved aircraft access. The existing terminal remains operational throughout the redevelopment.

<> Gold Coast Airport is also undergoing redevelopment, set to finish by March 2010. To be completed in two stages, the project will double the size of the existing facility to almost 27,000m², incorporating common user check-in desks and self service kiosks.

<> Melbourne Airport in January 2008 began the largest upgrade to its international terminal since it was built in the late 1960’s. The expansion will add 25,000m² of new space to Terminal 2 through a series of projects worth AU$330 million. These include a passenger concourse and 5,000m² retail precinct. All scheduled to finish in late 2011.

<> Perth Airport is about to begin the first stage of its redevelopment, the centrepiece of which will be the Stage 2 and 3 domestic and international terminals, including a redevelopment of the existing international terminal and the construction of new terminal space, with an upgrade in airport technology and baggage handling facilities. It will also cater for the needs of next generation aircraft.

Further contacts

<> Business Events, Tourism Australia www.businessevents.australia.com

<> Adelaide Convention Tourism Authority www.acta.com.au

<> Brisbane Marketing Convention Bureau www.meetinbrisbane.com

<> Cairns & Region Convention Bureau www.cairnsconventionbureau.com

<> Canberra Convention Bureau www.canberraconvention.com.au

<> Gold Coast Tourism www.VeryGC.biz

<> Melbourne Convention & Visitors Bureau www.mcvb.com.au

<> Newcastle Visitor & Convention Bureau w ww.nvcb.com.au

<> Northern Territory Convention Bureau www.ntconventions.com.au

<> Perth Convention Bureau www.pcb.com.au

<> Sunshine Coast Convention Bureau www.sccb.net.au

<> Sydney Convention and Visitors Bureau www.scvb.com.au

<> Tasmanian Convention Bureau www.tasmaniaconventions.com

<> Tourism Whitsundays www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au

<> Townsville Enterprise Convention Bureau www.townsvilleonline.com.au



Australia has moved a step closer to full reciprocal visa arrangements with countries in the European Union with the June 16 roll-out of improved electronic tourist visa services for Bulgarian, Polish and Romanian citizens. Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) Secretary Andrew Metcalfe said today the improvements meant most applicants from the three countries could have electronic applications for tourist visas to Australia processed within minutes.

“Australia’s electronic tourist visa service allows people from eligible countries to use the Internet to apply for a visa at any time from anywhere in the world,” Mr Metcalfe said. “This extension of the improved facility to all tourists from European Union nations brings Australia a step closer to reciprocal short-term entry arrangements with the EU.

“A further step in October this year will introduce another new online service to continue streamlining the processes for EU tourists and business visitors to come to Australia. This eVisitor service will further enhance the convenience and speed of online applications. It will use technological advances to enhance security and immigration risk screening. It can also eliminate the need for lengthy application forms and other documents.

“Simplifying entry for more than a million people from the EU visiting Australia each year enhances cultural links, encourages tourism growth and facilitates business relationships with Australia’s largest trade partner. The October introduction of the eVisitor service shows progress in the new era of close co-operation between Australia and the EU,” the secretary added.

Australia’s electronic visa services are available from the DIAC website at www.immi.gov.au/e_visa/visitors.htm.



The media centre at the Australian Tourism Exchange is virtually paper-free this year thanks to a new electronic delivery system that has done away with distribution of press material via pigeon-holes and shelf-racks. The new system launched by Tourism Australia in partnership with TravMedia also allows all Australian sellers attending the event to supply their news direct to the media. Accessible via username and password only, the press room [www.travmedia.com/ate08] has been developed as part of Tourism Australia’s commitment to delivering a more sustainable event.

International and domestic media attending the ATE no longer have to lug back reams of hard-copy press releases and media kits. Most of the material is now either online or being distributed via CDs or thumb-drives.

Every Australian travel organisation attending ATE as a seller company was allowed to upload one press release onto the dedicated press room, accompanied by a limited number of high-resolution images, free of charge. A brief one-paragraph summary of the release is written and the entire batch of the full day’s releases dispatched to registered media by email, with clickable links for further information and contacts.

The new system also cuts out administration, labour, postage/fax production and costs, envelopes and printing and their associated impact on the environment. It also utilise TravMedia’s tools of Journalist Alerts, Calendar of Events and Address Book, giving the published press releases and events coverage worldwide.

Australian sellers attending ATE who are already associated with TravMedia’s Australia and Pacific region will automatically have their details transferred across to the ATE press room database. Australian sellers who don’t have an existing account with TravMedia will need to set-up an account for the ATE online press room by going to www.travmedia.com/register.php and following the to-use instructions.

Sellers were able to submit their ATE press releases from Monday 2 June to Friday 13 June, and the first Daily Summary of news stories began to be circulated to the media from 14 June.



The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor, has announced a $190,000 Australian Government grant for an innovative project that will provide training and work experience for up to 20 Indigenous jobseekers in the Cairns hospitality industry. “This project will give participants the right skills and training to help them secure a job in this sector,” Mr O’Connor said.

The project, which is funded under the Structured Training and Employment Projects Employment and Related Services (STEP ERS) program, will involve IPA Personnel Cairns providing pre-employment training, job placements and mentoring support for participants. Training offered as part of the project includes food and beverage operations and workplace hygiene courses. Participants will also be offered pre-employment support to help them identify their preferred career pathway.

“The project also includes a work experience component which will allow participants to put their training to use and gain a hands-on experience of working in hospitality,” Mr O’Connor said. “This will be coupled with mentoring to help participants identify and overcome any barriers to employment.” He added, “While the level of unemployment in Cairns region has fallen by 33 per cent over the past five years, the unemployment rate for non-Indigenous people is four times higher than for non-Indigenous people.”

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