With its spectacular scenery, ancient Aboriginal culture and laid-back way of life Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) is a mecca for tourists keen to sample an authentic Australian experience. It is, however, its unique set of knowledge clusters, attention to local engagement, and the innovative ways it delivers ideas and learnings that makes it stand out as a congress destination.
More than dirt, rocks and crocs
Equivalent in size to France, Italy and Spain combined, Australia’s vast Northern Territory (NT) is divided into two distinctly different regions, each with its own weather system. The lush, green ‘Top End’ has a tropical climate and is home to the cosmopolitan capital city Darwin and the World-Heritage listed Kakadu, the country’s largest national park. In contrast, the ochre-coloured, desert-like landscape of the south has a semi-arid climate and is where you’ll find landmarks such as Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and Alice Springs, Australia’s most famous outback town.
Darwin is acknowledged for its expertise in tropical medicine, food production, architecture, climate change research. Its Menzies School of Health Research is internationally renowned for its work in indigenous health, tropical diseases and infections. The Darwin Convention Centre is situated overlooking the harbour and can cater for up to 1,200 visitors. For delegates looking to tag some leisure time on to their trip, Kakadu, Katherine Gorge, and Litchfield National Parks are all within driving distance.
As well as a site of historic interest, Alice Springs provides a central meeting point for events, being situated within three hours flying time of most Australian airports. Its Desert Knowledge Australia facility showcases the state-of-the-art solar energy research and development projects for which the NT is famed. Local community organisations such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air provide scope for educational off-site visits for groups. The 1,200-seat Alice Springs Convention Centre is the town’s largest conference facility. It is complemented by a range of other smaller hotel and resort venues within close proximity.
Engagement and delivery
The territory’s other economic and social strengths lie in agribusiness, land management, mining, education and defence. Planners looking to host events in NT can benefit from the Northern Territory Business Events Support Fund (NTBESF). Financial assistance of A$100 per delegate is available, up to a maximum of A$50,000 per event. To meet the criteria, the event needs to be at the consideration or bidding stage, align with NT’s industry strength sectors, and yield delegates from interstate and beyond.
The Northern Territory Convention Bureau (NTCB) is a key contact for setting the wheels in motion for any event. With 25 years of experience, it has built up an invaluable network of local contacts from the professional sector, government, business and industry. It also provides free, expert advice and assistance on the planning, bidding and delivery of business events in the NT.
Picture: Uluru, Central Australia -The spectacular Field of Light – Northern Territory