AUSTRALIA’S CONVENTION CITY READIES FOR 2020 AND BEYOND
Adelaide, Australia’s Convention City, has undergone a period of significant growth and development, which has further enhanced the city’s business events landscape and destination appeal for meeting and event planners. This transformation has not only included a multi‐million‐dollar expansion of the Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC), but also a significant investment in the City’s Riverbank Precinct, including the establishment of BioMed City and more recently, the Lot Fourteen innovation neighbourhood.
In 2010, the team at the Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC) participated in the Conventions 2020 study, focused on forecasting trends and the needs of delegates in the future. Major themes arising from the study highlighted client demand for innovation; the importance of flexibility and functionality in terms of meeting spaces; and the growing role of technology.
The ACC addressed these themes in the planning and subsequent construction of its two‐phase $397M redevelopment, which saw the venue emerge one of the world’s most modern, flexible and technologically advanced meetings and events venues.
The theme of ‘innovation’ extends beyond the Centre’s walls to the City at large. Additional activity and development in the CBD is helping actively position Adelaide as a ‘City of Innovation’ and in turn, helping capture the attention of associations and business event planners.
“Our efforts at the ACC have been complemented by ongoing and significant investment within the broader City Centre,” comments Simon Burgess, General Manager, Adelaide Convention Centre. “The next wave of new developments are slated for 2020 and the years immediately following, bringing another exciting new era for Adelaide.”
You only need to look at the ACC’s immediate surroundings on the Adelaide Riverbank — Australia’s best connected business events precinct — for evidence of the City’s transformation. To the west of the Centre lies the $3.6B BioMed City, one of the largest health and life science precincts in the Southern Hemisphere. Comprising the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), along with the University of Adelaide’s Health and Medical Sciences facility and the University of South Australia’s Health & Innovation building, BioMed City places more than 1,000 researchers and students on the Centre’s doorstep, providing a ready‐made pool of speakers and delegates. The precinct is set to further expand with the addition of SAHMRI 2, which will be home the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research – the Southern Hemisphere’s first proton therapy unit. Construction of SAHMRI 2 is expected to commence this year with completion in 2021.
A short stroll east of the ACC is Lot Fourteen—Australia’s first “creation and innovation neighbourhood”—which is dedicated to showcasing some of the world’s fastest growing industries, including robotics, defence and space. Spearheading the precinct is the Australian Space Agency, a lasting legacy from the 2017 International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide. The Agency is set to be up and running by mid‐2019.
Other major developments in the works include the $330M Casino expansion (2020), complete with a new 123‐room luxury hotel and spa; along with the $165M Adelaide Airport development (2021), which is focused on expanding the Airport’s international terminal. There’s also a string of new hotels in the pipeline, including a Westin and Sofitel, which will help further broaden Adelaide’s conferencing appeal.
Burgess concludes, “With so much happening in our City, it’s an exciting time in Adelaide. The triple helix of enviable cooperation between university, industry and government collaboration will help further reinvent our State and City over the next decade, providing even more reasons why people should revisit Adelaide as a fresh and exciting conference destination.”