Convention Centre News
The Alice Springs Convention Centre hosted 153 business events throughout the 2016 calendar year across a broad mix of industries, segments and delegate demographics, making it one of the busiest years experienced.
More than 11,456 business event delegates participated, with 41 per cent of these delegates coming from beyond the Northern Territory; the Centre also attracted a total 32,665 people across a range of other events. 2017 is expected to be equally strong for the Centre, which has capacity for up to 1,200 delegates. In addition to in-house events, the Centre will continue to develop its off-site catering offering which includes a range of new and exciting Alice Springs locations.
The destination frequently attracts higher than expected attendances due to business events providing an opportunity for delegates to enjoy the laid-back, relaxed environment, engage with the local community, undertake truly unique team building activities, as well as fascinating pre and post touring options.
Lasseters Hotel has recently been re-branded by the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and will now be known as Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters. As part of an agreement forged between IHG and Ford Dynasty Pty Ltd, an A$5 million refurbishment program of the property will also commence in 2017 and will see all 205 hotel guest rooms renovated and refreshed. The program will include the installation of a helipad at the property, a convenience expected to appeal strongly to the incentive and corporate market.
The hotel, which is nestled beneath the spectacular MacDonnell Ranges, is located immediately adjacent to the 1200 seat Alice Springs Convention Centre and Lasseters Casino and also overlooks the 18-hole Alice Springs Golf Course, Australia’s only championship desert golf course. It is just a short drive from the town’s CBD and many local attractions. The property includes a resort pool & sauna, Day Spa facility, fitness centre and a la carte restaurant – it also has direct access to a range of other dining and bar options within the Lasseters Casino complex.
DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs recently completed an extensive renovation of its conference and events facility. Four of the property’s five meeting rooms now boast state-of-the-art ceiling lighting, which offers a wide range of colour options to enhance event styles and themes – the exception is the Boardroom, where mood lighting is not generally required. One client bringing a conference to the property this year has a very good reason for doing so. Think Water will be holding its 10th Anniversary conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs from 8-11 August and is returning to Alice Springs and the hotel because it was the location of the franchise group’s very first conference in 2007. Approximately 200 franchisees and suppliers from throughout Australia and New Zealand will be in attendance and the property’s new venue lighting will be used to complement the various corporate colours of conference event sponsors. The conference will showcase the best of Alice Springs, with the Welcome Dinner being held at the spectacular off-site location of The Quarry. A ‘Marketplace’ featuring local art, craft and food will also feature in the program, as well as a camel-riding excursion and a unique al fresco dinner on the hotel’s helipad.
DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs has a Grand Ballroom which can accommodate up to 400 guests and all venues benefit from having onsite audio-visual equipment. The hotel can host outdoor dinners and cocktail receptions for up to 1,000 guests, with the stunning MacDonnell Ranges providing a dramatic backdrop. The hotel has 235 rooms, three onsite restaurants, tennis courts, fitness centre and pool and is within walking distance of the Alice Springs CBD as well as the nearby golf course and Casino. DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs also undertakes offsite catering at a range of locations in the Alice Springs environs.
Outback Floatplane Adventures has recently undertaken an exciting new venture and will be opening a boutique resort near the Finniss River, just a 20 minute flight from Darwin, where guests can retire after an exciting day of adventure on Sweets Lagoon. The property boasts a moat waterway shaped like a map of Australia, which will be home to some of the NT’s famous saltwater crocs, with guests able to directly view the crocs from their lodge accommodation.
At Uluru, the amazing ‘Field of Light’ installation continues to attract world-wide attention. Due to strong demand, the attraction has been extended for a second season and will be available for viewing until 31 March 2018. Since launching in April 2016, almost 100,000 guests have viewed the unique display at Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, in Australia’s spiritual heartland. Covering an area the size of four football fields, it features more than 50,000 slender stems topped with frosted-glass spheres which have been placed on the desert sands to “flower” into colour, as pitch black darkness descends. Created by renowned international artist Bruce Munro, it is his first work to be illuminated entirely by solar power. A wide range of packaged viewing options are available for conference and incentive groups.
Uluru Camel Tours operates the largest camel farm in Australia with over 60 working camels and is an iconic tourist attraction in the very heart of the Territory. It has a multi-purpose entertainment venue available for conference and event groups which has recently been enhanced to cater for larger groups. It is ideal for team building activities as well as serving as an outdoor dining space, with scope for a stage, dance-floor, bar and barbecue facilities. The paved section of the main entertaining area has been extended and an educational camel history display is now available, along with a display of wagons and Cobb and Co coaches, and a blacksmith workshop. The company also operates a camel racing track at which a special tailor-made camel race day can be staged for Business Event groups.
Award-winning tour company SEIT Outback Australia has recently launched two exciting new tours which provide insights into the magic and mystery that is Uluru.
The Uluru Outback Explorers Dinner Tour is a progressive three course meal undertaken aboard an open-top double decker coach restaurant, which circumnavigates the base of Uluru. Guests on this unique 42 seater vehicle, called the Uluru Fork and View, learn about the culture, pioneering history and amazing desert region environment, while enjoying creatively-styled cuisine complimented by warm Central Australia hospitality. Each course is served at a different location around the Uluru base. Whilst the main tour is offered as a dinner, it can be made available for chartered breakfasts, lunches or morning teas.
The other new experience is SEIT PATJI, an aboriginal guided tour escorted by the traditional custodians of Uluru, where participants learn about the oldest living culture in the world. Sammy Wilson, whose traditional family name is Uluru, is an owner and important elder in the Mutitjulu community, which is located at the base of the monolith. With more than 20 years’ experience in tourism, Sammy has hosted many important visitors to Uluru in the past, including royalty and global celebrities.
His company, Uluru Family Tours has partnered with SEIT Outback Australia to enable guests to visit traditional owner homelands not previously accessible to tourists. Patji is located south of Uluru and lies outside the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park boundaries. Each PATJI tour is hosted by a member of the Uluru family and their stories focus on culture, desert survival, Aboriginal land rights and what it was like living in the region before tourism started.
The 4WD tour takes in spectacular views of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and the desert landscape, with tour flexibility tailored to suit business event schedules and requirements.
Guests staying at the Baillie Lodges operated Longitude 131° at Uluru have been making the most of the new balconies which have been added to the luxury ‘tents’. The contemporary outdoor space now includes day beds, armchairs and fireplaces. A special outback touch sees bespoke luxury ‘swags’ laid out each evening on the balconies, providing guests with the option to sleep under starlit outback skies.