Damian Kitto, chief executive officer, Adelaide Convention Bureau


Adelaide, South Australia has in recent times, enjoyed a relatively small but robust, bespoke incentive industry – sitting largely in the shadow of the more internationally well-known east coast destinations when it came to bigger groups.

However that tide is turning with the announcement of the destination’s first large group tour by The Perfect China with a 3,000 passenger group to arrive in Adelaide in June 2017 — and there are more to come.

The challenges faced by Adelaide and other smaller destinations are not that they don’t necessarily have the product — the issue is that of awareness. Smaller destinations don’t have the ‘fame factor’ on their side. They’re not a Sydney, New York, Shanghai or Paris however they do have benefit of being new, undiscovered and ‘somewhere different’ — current priority features for many groups.

A further challenge for smaller destinations is first- hand exposure — without an existing large-scale reputation, this is a difficult yet paramount sales strategy. Adelaide has previously hosted smaller famils and received exceptional feedback on its offering. In fact, The Perfect China’s original plan was to send just 200 VIP guests to Adelaide however following a site visit, their delegation was suitably impressed to up the group to include 3000 visitors. This was despite the fact that due to The Perfect China’s business including a wine distribution service, South Australia’s famous wine experiences were not to be included in the itinerary.

Exceptional feedback from smaller groups aside, the challenge for Adelaide (as is the case with smaller or less well-known cities) in order to expand its reach and reputation as a viable incentive destination was securing first-hand exposure on a larger scale.

Timing was paramount and in this instance, perfect. Direct access into Adelaide by new airlines offered more economical and convenient access. Industry-wide communication to ensure operators and authorities were ‘large group ready’ has been undertaken and the timing of the completion of Adelaide’s investment in infrastructure and development along the city’s Riverbank precinct was on track. Adelaide could boast the country’s best connected business, events and entertainment precinct with close proximity to hotels to complement its also highly accessible regional offering of amazing food and wine and pristine wilderness.

Tourism Australia’s Dreamtime event provided the initial catalyst to take Adelaide’s incentive strategy to the next level and it was upon the timing of this event that the incentive strategy was developed. We’d built it — they just needed to come!

Third party endorsements including Lonely Planet listing South Australia as a Top 10 ‘must see’ destination which followed the New York times listing Adelaide as a must see city in 2015 — perfect timing for Dreamtime (held in December) further boosted Adelaide’s positioning as a new and exciting place to visit.

For incentive operators consistently seeking new, exciting and untried destinations, Adelaide and other smaller boutique destinations, being large-group ready, offer an alternative to national and international groups for whom Australia remains a highly desirable destination.

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