NT’s Unique Character Shines
The combination of spectacular landscapes, unique experiences, industry linkages and a relaxed lifestyle ensure that Australia’s Northern Territory presents an appealing proposition for conference and incentive planners. However, it’s often local engagement and the delivery of ideas and learnings in an inspiring manner that sets the NT apart.
This approach was very effectively showcased at the recent NT-hosted lunch staged on the first day of the AIME trade event in Melbourne. The NT Convention Bureau invited one of its exhibitors, the Katherine Outback Experience (KOE), to bring two highly-trained horses and two working cattle dogs right into the very heart of the show, as the star turn at the NT-hosted event which was held in the AIME Atrium arena.
Tom Curtain from KOE displayed his impressive horse and dog-handling skills, at one stage standing on his horse while singing and playing the guitar, to convey just how placid these creatures can be in the right hands. Tom is a dual ‘Golden Guitar’ award-winning country musician but also presents keynote speeches and team-building activities which focus on confidence building as a key component of best practice in business. Whilst his business is based in Katherine, a town approximately three hours south of Darwin, Tom and his animals are mobile and can travel to a range of venues in Alice Springs and Darwin to provide entertainment and deliver meaningful learnings.
Another example of NT ‘know-how’ and achievement was highlighted at the NT luncheon, with the award-winning Karen Sheldon Catering providing an interactive bread-making cooking class for guests in attendance. Karen’s company specialises in showcasing NT produce which includes crocodile, kangaroo, locally-caught barramundi and mud crab, amongst others. Karen Sheldon Catering is also a registered training organisation, with her highly successful ‘Future Stars Indigenous Employment Program’ committed to inspiring, training and mentoring Indigenous job-seekers. Karen’s company is a frequent supplier to NT-based business event programs, not only catering quality cuisine but also arranging team-building and CSR activities which deliver proven positive outcomes.
Indigenous catering business, Kungkas Can Cook, was also on hand at AIME to provide native bush foods from which the NT’s guests could make a selection to create their own uniquely-NT flavoured luncheon roll. Many of the guests, especially those from Asia, expressed considerable interest in the health benefits of Australian bush foods. All of the company’s produce is locally harvested ‘on country’ in the NT by traditional-owner women.
Rebecca McCaig, Director of the NT Convention Bureau, spoke about how the bureau seeks, whenever possible, to showcase elements that set it apart from its competitors.
“We felt it was important to deliver an event at AIME that provided a very different experience for our event planner guests, whilst being true to the Territory,” she said. “We suspect this was the first time that horses and dogs were key features of an AIME lunch break. The lunch provided just a taste of what awaits planners who bring business events to the NT. We encourage the inclusion of NT culture, cuisine and local characters in conferences and incentives that visit our destinations and are only too happy to provide introductions to these and other creative NT suppliers.”