International association conference planners have noted the importance of local strengths when searching for a destination that will elevate the value of meeting face-to-face. Such matchmaking provides scope for technical touring and field trips, access to invaluable local knowledge and research, as well as the opportunity to include local expert speakers in conference content.
Local Industry Strengths
Leveraging this productive trend, the NT Government has identified thirteen priority sectors of significance and recognises their relevance when seeking to attract conferences to the NT. These segments include health, agribusiness, land management, energy, resources, maritime industries, space, digital technologies, education, defense, tourism, creative industries and manufacturing sectors. They encompass the research capabilities in tropical health being undertaken by Charles Darwin University’s Menzies School of Health Research. With leading-edge aquaculture projects, processing facilities at Darwin’s service and supply centre for the world-first Prelude Floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) project and the world’s largest manganese mine, the range of possibilities for relevant associations to consider the NT as a host destination is endless.
In the space sector, NT innovation was demonstrated vividly with the successful launches of three separate NASA rockets from the Arnhem Space Centre by Equatorial Launch Australia. These launches, which were undertaken in late June and early July, were NASA’s first ever launches undertaken from a commercial spaceport anywhere in the world outside the USA and were deemed by NASA to be a “landmark for science”. The new NT spaceport promises a positive future for Australia’s capacity and capability in the space sector, as well as providing the opportunity for the NT to attract future conferences of relevance.
NTBE has seen first-hand how NT business and industry strengths have contributed to the attraction of significant international conferences to Australia and the Northern Territory. On top of offering access to local expertise, the bureau administers the Northern Territory Business Events Support Fund (NTBESF). It provides funding assistance to qualified association conferences which are at the bidding stage and able to meet specific criteria. The Fund provides financial assistance of a minimum AUD$100 per delegate, with priority consideration given to those association business events which align with the identified economic and social strengths of the NT.
Rebecca McCaig, Director of Northern Territory Business Events, said: “The Northern Territory has established an international reputation for excellence and innovation across a broad number of sectors. We know that the NT’s strengths in these sectors have been key to attracting international conferences of relevance, along with the significant support on offer. Coupled with ancient learnings from the NT’s 65,000-year-old Aboriginal culture, we believe NT-based conferences consistently deliver meaningful and enriching outcomes, for delegates and organisers alike.”
Conferences Find Their Match
Strengthening the local industry whilst also offering appealing destinations and support for business events has done the trick. In the coming years, Australia’s Northern Territory will host a number of international conferences aligned to the NT strength industries: the International Foster Care Conference (September 2022); the 2023 World Aquaculture Conference; the Ninth Congress of the International Society for the Study of Iron in Biology and Medicine (August 2023); the 10th World Conference on Ecological Restoration (September 2023) and the World Federation of Neuroscience Nurses Quadrennial Congress (July 2025) are but a few examples that represent the health, agribusiness and land management sectors.
Professor Kingsley Dixon, the Chair of The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), spoke about the event to be staged in 2023 at the Darwin Convention Centre: “I’m delighted that SER will be hosting our next World Conference in my native Australia. Darwin’s unique location and ecosystems, along with the significance of the region to traditional Indigenous cultures, will offer conference delegates new perspectives and insights into restoration. The world-class restoration research being undertaken at the Charles Darwin University was a determining factor. An exciting part of the conference will be the opportunity for delegates to engage with Indigenous communities in northern Australia who represent one of the oldest continuous cultures in the world.”