The Canberra Convention Bureau is making Canberra a year-round events destination, from Floriade in Spring to truffle hunting in winter.
There is much to offer business visitors to Canberra who may be here for a conference, convention or major event. The Canberra Convention Bureau showcases to local and interstate conference organisers these unique Canberra experiences, hotels and restaurants.
The Canberra Convention Bureau hosts networking events, bringing together the Business Events sector. The events foster collaboration, a benefit of being a small and entrepreneurial destination. Cross pollination of ideas and building stronger relationships, encouraged by excellent Canberra food and drinks always makes for a memorable evening.
‘A Bureau is a seat at the table for industry to benefit from the far reaching sales networks that we continue to develop, nationally and internationally. Our events attract those most eager to grow their networks and have their products and services known to meeting planners, Bureau staff and industry.’ said Michael Matthews CEO of Canberra Convention Bureau.
In 2017, Canberra saw 2.75 million domestic travellers stay overnight in the city, an increase of 10% from the previous year. The visitors are great for the Canberra economy, supporting 16,800 tourism jobs in the region*.
‘We want to give them something they would not expect.’
The Canberra Convention Bureau aims to bring more conferences and meetings to the Canberra region, increasing this segment of the tourism market. The Bureau team recently hosted a contingent of professional conference organisers (PCO’s) from Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart to showcase what Canberra has to offer and adding that ‘surprise element’ to a visit to Canberra.
Hosting around 180 conferences a year the National Convention Centre Canberra (NCCC) is a pivotal location for the visiting contingent.
General Manager of the NCCC, Stephen Wood said his team was going to surprise the group with a 4-course truffle degustation served in their main kitchen, ‘We want to give them something they would not expect.’
Of the conferences the NCCC hosts, around 50% are for national events. Canberra being the central point for political journalists, this attracts national organisations, providing them access to the national media. Stephen explained that Canberra is ideally located for national events, with transport into and around the city being easy to manoeuver guests around.
The travelling contingent was shown a range of hospitality options and attractions on offer, including a unique Canberra experience – truffle hunting at the Truffle Farm.
Claire Ridley from Ci Events enjoyed the experience, saying ‘Truffles are something that everyone loves. It is a great way to understand the process.’
Director of The Boat House, James Souter said the iconic location of their venue on Lake Burley Griffin, looking out to the Kingston Foreshore is continuing to evolve, adding more event options. With the addition of Schmicnics picnics and hampers, it enables the venue to utilise the green-space around the lake, with patrons being able to picnic outdoors.
Executive Chef at the Boat House, John Leverink said they like to add an element of surprise for diners with the food they serve at events,
‘A clever combination you would never think of, we try to think outside of the box, and deliver something that is exciting but approachable at the same time.’
It is not just about large conventions and events being bought into the city for the Canberra Convention Bureau. Canberra is the home to four universities, research institutions and national cultural institutions. Local event organisers turn to the Canberra Convention Bureau to help them learn more about their city. A representative from the Australian National University said the benefit of the Bureau was they re-introduced locals to the precincts of Canberra. So if you are hosting an event at a venue, the Bureau can assist you to have a deeper understanding of an area, identifying the hotels, restaurants and facilities in the area.
Canberra is a meeting place that offers a diversity of experiences for the business tourist, and the Canberra Convention Bureau is ready to help plan itineraries that will surprise visitors to Canberra, extending beyond the event location.
Images courtesy: Canberra Convention Bureau and Avon Dissanayake