The Darwin Convention Centre has hosted some of Australia’s leading conference organisers in an attempt to increase awareness of the new convention centre that is taking shape as part of the city’s A$1 billion waterfront development.The group included Barrie Markey and Sarah Markey-Hamm of ICMS in Melbourne, Bryan Holliday and Emma Bowyer of ICMS Australasia, Sydney, and Chris Boundy of SAPMEA in Adelaide.
Their site visit coincided with the city’s social event of the year, the Qantas Darwin Cup Gala Ball, where almost 3,000 guests gathered for one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest sit-down gala events under the stars.
In addition to a hard hat inspection of Darwin’s first purpose built Convention Centre, the meeting planners met with the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Government, Ms Clare Martin, the Northern Territory Convention Bureau and local convention industry suppliers. The product presentations included; accommodation houses, audio visual experts, exhibition companies, tour and transport operators and a variety of off-site venues available in this vibrant, colourful city.
Bryan Holliday, Managing Director of ICMS Australasia said, “I can certainly see Darwin becoming an integral part of the national and international conference circuits. With increasing air capacity, good accommodation infrastructure and a world class convention centre operated by seasoned professionals, they’re doing all the right things.”
Opening in mid 2008, the Darwin Convention Centre is an integral part of this tropical city’s new waterfront development precinct and will seat 1,500 delegates in tiered plenary hall, a total of 12 meeting rooms and 4,000sqm of exhibition space. One of the centre’s distinctive design feature’s is the impressive floor to ceiling glass walls that offer panoramic views of the wave lagoon, parklands and the azure seas of Australia’s largest harbour.
“We’re making excellent progress and construction is right on schedule for completion mid-2008 and have a high level of interest for conventions to 2016,” said General Manager of the Darwin Convention Centre, Ms Malu Barrios.
Chris Boundy, Managing Director of SAPMEA said the new venue occupied a superb waterfront setting and was designed to take full advantage of its surrounds so that delegates could appreciate the uniqueness of the location.
“I was impressed with the apparent level of support for the Darwin Convention Centre’s team from both the industry sectors and the Territory Government. The Darwin Cup Ball was handled enormously well. An outdoor sit down dinner on the beachfront for more than twenty nine hundred people - now that’s confidence!”
One of the highlights of the night was the surprise arrival of a F18 fighter jet which performed a spectacular fiery fuel burn, which in turn heralded a massive pyrotechnics display to the booming sounds of the “Danger Zone” theme from Top Gun.
The Darwin Convention Centre is a Northern Territory Government initiative and is operated by Ogden IFC, one of Asia Pacific’s largest venue management companies. Ogden IFC also operate convention centres in Cairns, Brisbane and Kuala Lumpur.