The conference will tackle all-encompassing industry issues, including emerging market opportunities, technical and economic based research and development, environmental impacts and management, policies and food security. A highlight of the meeting is a ministerial forum with Agriculture Ministers John McVeigh (Queensland) Kenneth Baston (Western Australia) and Willem Westra Van Holthe (Northern Territory) discussing developments in their particular States, common areas of interest and knowledge sharing opportunities across the north.
Food Futures comes into full swing at a time in which the various Governments are developing their strategic approach to take on Northern Agriculture, with a focus on the markets and economics underpinning emerging Asian markets. The conference intends to lead the debate in enabling effective policy action to maximise the potential of Northern Agriculture and capture commercial opportunities.
The Federal Government’s vision is that by 2030, Northern Australia will drive the country’s economic growth by developing a food bowl – tapping both land and sea-based resources – which could double Australia’s agricultural output and provide the needs of Australia, Asia, and the Tropics. Asia’s increasing affluence has triggered a growing demand for premium quality food.
“As Australia’s ‘front door to Asia’, choosing Darwin as the host city for Food Futures was a good business fit,” said Darwin Convention Centre General Manager Janet Hamilton.
“Likewise, agriculture is a pillar of NT Government policies and Chief Minister Adam Giles is a strong advocate of northern agricultural development, thus completing the strategic alignment,” Ms. Hamilton continued. “We’re honoured to play a part in a conference with an eye to the future prosperity of all Australians, as well as present and future residents of the North, including traditional owners.”
For further media information or comment, please contact:
Mrs Janet Hamilton
Darwin Convention Centre
PO Box 735, Darwin NT 0801
T: + 61 8 8923 9000
Commencing with a lunch in Brisbane on Monday 13 October, functions will include a breakfast in Canberra, early evening cocktail events in Sydney and Melbourne and lunches in Adelaide and Perth. Elegant and interesting venues have been chosen and include the Sofitel Brisbane, Sage Restaurant in Canberra, the Slip Inn Sydney, the iconic MCG in Melbourne and private rooms at Chianti Classico in Adelaide and The George in Perth.
ConveNTions Walkabout ’14 is open to attendance by Professional Conference Organisers, Destination Management Companies, event planners, in-house meeting organisers, associations and corporate decision makers in each city.
The ten NT exhibitors include the three NT convention centres located in Darwin, Alice Springs and Uluru, hotels and resorts, off-site venues, specialist service providers, activity, tour and transport operators, as well as members of the NTCB team.
Fantastic NT adventure trips for two will be offered as prizes, enabling the winners to visit one of the three key NT destinations, being Uluru, Darwin or Alice Springs. Two trips will be given away in each ‘Walkabout’ destination.
Katie Boone, Association Relations Manager with MCI Australia, was an NT trip prize-winner in 2013. She emphasised how the experience had really opened her eyes to the potential of the NT as a conference and incentive destination. “As one of last year’s lucky winners of a trip to the NT, I can honestly say it was an inspiring experience”, she said. “As it was my first time to the region, the trip certainly proved that the NT is a fantastic option for conferences and incentives. From watching the sunset over Uluru, to a sunrise helicopter flight over the Olgas, to immersing yourself in the local aboriginal culture, it was a magical experience.”
As has become a tradition at these events, a generous donation of $5000 will be made by the NTCB and their industry partners to Starwin Management, which operates an NT social enterprise organisation aiming to bring about positive community change. The organisation can deliver corporate team-building activities, motivational speakers and cultural corporate gifts. It also operates the Starwin Shopfront at the DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade hotel in the Darwin CBD. This Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative by the ConveNTions Walkabout ’14 team is made in lieu of gifts being distributed to guests attending the events around the country.
Guests stayed in the luxury accommodation wing of Lasseters and were able to gain an exclusive sneak preview of the new hotel reception area, extensive health and fitness club, day spa and new poolside café, which are due to open at the beginning of August.
Feedback received from famil participants has been effusive and all have indicated that Alice Springs well and truly exceeded their expectations:
"The Northern Territory is the ultimate place to see the true Australia. In the middle of a continent of unbelievable beauty, it takes you back to grassroots and provides a totally different aspect of Australia. The hospitality and friendliness of suppliers, hotels and the locals is just unbeatable! They are rightly proud of what they have here in Alice Springs. There is no obvious competition amongst individual suppliers – it’s all about the destination and making visitors feel welcome."
"The Alice Stampede famil has showcased the amazing diversity and colours of the desert country – the ranges, the blue sky, the red dust and the crispness of the air. It’s also highlighted how close everything is – nothing seems more than 20 minutes away. The upgrade of Lasseters Hotel has now provided planners and delegates with a true 5 star accommodation option in Alice Springs. The offsite catering provided by the Alice Springs Convention Centre (ASPCC) is exceptional and is always delivered with a smile. The ASPCC catering team have been with us everywhere and their friendly approach and service delivery has been just excellent. Hats off to everyone involved with this fantastic famil of Alice Springs.”
The Alice Stampede itinerary incorporated a wide range of attractions and experiences which showcased the infrastructure as well as the cultural, business and quirky aspects of Alice.
The close connection between people and place was evident throughout the program, with participants specifically commenting on the relaxed friendliness of Alice Springs locals. Cultural connections included ‘Stampeders’ engaging in a dot-painting workshop under the watchful eye of Indigenous artists and community leaders such as Amelia Turner, who was recently named a NAIDOC Week Award recipient.
Enjoying a performance by the Indigenous children’s drumming group, Drum Atweme, and then dancing with them was a magic moment for many, as was the special presentation provided by internationally recognised didgeridoo master Andrew Langford, during the ‘Central Desert Art Dinner’ held at the Alice Springs Convention Centre.
The welcome party at the historic Telegraph Station, to which participants pedalled their way aboard a fleet of mountain bikes, set the scene. On arrival, ‘Stampeders’ participated in a mini Henley-on-Todd Regatta in the dry river bed before enjoying a performance by Indigenous children’s drumming group, Drum Atweme. A visit from some unusual ‘Territorians’ from the Alice Springs Reptile Centre preceded the market-style alfresco dinner set up on the lawns and an extra special surprise saw each guest fitted for their very own akubra.
A business forum was also held at the Alice Springs Convention Centre, where five local speakers talked passionately about “their” Alice Springs. Ruth Hirst, from Sydney-based Synergy Events, also provided invaluable planner insights when she talked about her 2013 Alice Springs conference.
A day at the races ‘Alice Springs-style’ took guests to the world-renowned Camel Cup and luncheon in the Lasseters ‘Camel-Cage’ marquee. Another quirky element was a visit to the Alice Springs Beanie Festival, where ‘Stampeders’ made their selection of an Alice keepsake from a ‘beanie buffet’ piled high with hats.
A gentle camel trek courtesy of Pyndan Camel Tracks, a guided stroll around Alice Springs Desert Park, an early morning hot air balloon ride and the finale dinner at The Quarry delivered spectacular views of the desert landscape and real ‘sense’ of the NT.
The catering team from the Alice Springs Convention Centre were an integral part of the Alice Stampede program providing superb breakfasts, lunches, cocktails and dinners at more than nine different offsite and onsite locations, including a very impressive themed gala dinner in the convention centre itself.
Nicole Jervis, Manager - Marketing & Communications with the NTCB indicated that she was delighted with the outcome of the third Alice Stampede.
"Participant feed-back has been fantastic – they were ‘sold’ on Alice Springs by the end of the action-packed first day. It’s already clear that there will be some serious new business coming our way as a result of the famil”, she said. “We’re delighted that our partnership with the ASPCC and all the other Alice Springs operators on this event has been such a great success.”
Chris Sartori, Lasseters Chief Operating Officer also commented: “The timing of Alice Stampede 2014 could not have been better. The opening of our latest new facilities will not only broaden the product offering to our core customer base but will also create new value-add opportunities and increased appeal for the conference and incentive markets. Between our convention centre and hotel, we believe we now offer one of Australia’s best options for business events.”