The arrival of Steven Marshall as Premier of South Australia following the Liberal Party’s election win in March could trigger a swathe of new international investment opportunities, according to the Adelaide Convention Bureau (ACB).

Although the industry body has always prided itself historically on working with governments on a bipartisan basis, its chief executive officer Damien Kitto believes the change of public office will herald a greater level of support for the state’s business events sector.

“As part of the Marshall Government’s new policy platform moving forward will be a greater mandate for the ACB which will mean a greater level of investment in terms of bid funding to enable the city to compete globally in attracting international conventions and Asian incentives,” Damien Kitto told travelBulletin.

Kitto believes attracting Asian incentives will form a major pillar of South Australia’s strategic growth plan.

“The new government will provide additional resources to the Bureau for research business development activity…to help us bid for Asian incentives with a key focus on China and Indonesia in the short-term,” he said.

“The key market will be China and Greater China, which includes Hong Kong of course, and the reason why the government is providing additional resources to lure these incentives is because they see Adelaide as the new opportunity in Australia, the city can be easily accessed, and our food and wine is exceptional,” he added.

“Chinese incentives alone are worth about $400 million to the Australian economy.”

Adelaide is no stranger to Asian events after landing the major health incentive Perfect China in June last year, one that Kitto believes exceeded even his lofty expectations.

“We had just under 3,000 delegates from Perfect China attend that incentive and the rating that we had from the client and the destination management company was exceptional — we were given a nine out of 10 rating,” he said.

Another important aspect of the ACB’s Asian incentive plan will be working on improving access from Asia to Adelaide.

“We already have great support from China Southern, eventually we would like to see them extend the number of flights per week and the SA Government and the Adelaide Airport are always trying to look for opportunities to grow access from Asia,” Kitto said.

“We also have loyal supporters like Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines and Cathay Pacific and that access is good, but with further improvement to that access it will greatly assist our chances of securing more Asian incentives.”

Outside of its Asian focus, Adelaide has posted some very impressive numbers over the last five years, securing $725 million in business during that time and undertaking more than $5 billion worth of infrastructure development.

“With all of that investment it has also encouraged lots of private investment, so things like private hotel refurbishment and new hotels are now on the horizon from brands like Sofitel, Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, and the Adelaide Casino is also going through a $300 million redevelopment,” Kitto said.

In the last 12 months alone, the ACB reported the acquisition of 137 events which are estimated to attract more than 60,000 delegates to the city and generate $274 million into the South Australian economy.

When asked what set Adelaide apart from the rest of the country, Kitto said it was down to the city’s unique appeal.

“We’re basically a small city with a big city infrastructure which can deliver a boutique experience,” he said.

“Adelaide’s river bank is Australia’s best-connected business events precinct…and we call Adelaide the 20-minute city, it’s very walkable around the CBD and that really promotes a convenience aspect to prospective events.”


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