The opening of the biggest convention centre in NSW north of Sydney, a major facelift for Port Stephens’ iconic Anchorage property, a 50 per cent expansion for Newcastle Airport and a new focus on ‘smart’ MICE events will help attract new business tourism to the greater Hunter region in 2015.
Assessing the year ahead for business events in Newcastle, the Hunter Valley and Port Stephens, the leaders of the joint MICE marketing group, Altogether Perfect, which enters its first full year of operations in 2015 as a promoter of the three areas, said a raft of new developments would encourage more companies and groups to host events in the region.
* A major $14.5 million expansion for Newcastle Airport which will see the terminal enlarged by 50 per cent by late 2015, increasing capacity and facilitating the growth of domestic flights and providing the infrastructure for potential international services in the future.
* The opening of the $4 million Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Conference & Events Centre on January 30, 2015, will provide the Hunter Region with the most comprehensive business events facilities. Accommodating up to 1000 delegates, the facility is the largest conference centre in the Hunter Valley and the biggest in NSW north of Sydney.
* A complete $6 million transformation of the iconic and luxurious Anchorage Port Stephens into a world-class resort including an upgrade of all 81 rooms and a major redevelopment of dining, leisure and conference facilities. These include an all-weather terrace with gas fireplace and bay views for conference catering. A new waterside, sunset-facing, events platform is located on-site, perfect for gala dinners.
Altogether Perfect spokesperson, Rebecca Morley – Meetings, Incentive, Conference and Events Manager for Destination Port Stephens – said Altogether Perfect would also focus this year on creating ‘smart’ business events where conferences capitalise on local expertise and, in turn, provide the host region with new knowledge. “Business events, of course, deliver crucial dollars to our local economy but our aim is to also foster an exchange of intelligence that these conferences bring so that companies running these events can utilise a local brains trust of knowledge in their field while host communities can gain new ideas from the events,” Ms Morley said. ‘This two-way corporate and social interaction can really enrich the event itself and the region that hosts it.”
Ms Morley said Altogether Perfect would attend business event shows around Australia throughout 2015 and also host regular famils for industry buyers.
Launched last year, the $270,000 ‘Altogether Perfect’ campaign is the name for the collaborative marketing efforts undertaken by regional partners in the Hunter Region to attract and secure business events tourism. Backed by Newcastle Convention Bureau, Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association and Destination Port Stephens and supported by dynamic industry operators, the joint marketing group attends trade fairs and sales missions and host visits to the region by key conference organisers and media to build the appeal of the Hunter region as a premier business tourism destination. The campaign received funding through the Regional Visitor Economy Fund (RVEF) which is managed and administered by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.