Scenic escapes and aquatic adventure await
By Chelsea Davis and Andrea Doyle
Sydney is one of many destinations in this country ideal for incentive groups
From the Outback to the Great Bar- rier Reef, the land down under offers omething for every incentive traveler.
Australia is the eighth-largest tourism market,
and for the first time in a calendar year, welcomed 8. 26 million international visitors in
2016. Thanks to its reputation for both safety
and a diverse array of activities, it’s a highly
sought-after destination for incentive travel.
With natural beauty, sightseeing, upscale
accommodations and event facilities, rich
history, and unique experiences, it’s an
impressive place for work or play. Moreover,
Australia’s culinary scene is brighter than
ever. For world-class dining look no further
than Melbourne, which hosted the World’s
50 Best Restaurants 2017 in April.
“Australia consistently ranks at the top
of Americans’ wish lists of destinations they
want to visit,” says Jane Whitehead, vice
president of Americas for Tourism Australia.
“So if you’re looking for a destination with
‘wow’ factor that is truly rewarding and
inspiring for your group, you just can’t beat
Australia. Now with the exchange rate at the
most favorable level for Americans in many
years, it’s an even better value for groups.”
She points out that 70 percent of the
country’s international visitors enjoy aquatic
and coastal experiences as part of their trip
to Australia and rank Australia No. 1 for
marine wildlife and remote and developed
coastal beaches and aquatic locations.
“Wherever you are in Australia, there is a
coastal or aquatic experience for groups to
participate in,” says Whitehead, “whether
it’s a helicopter ride over the 12 Apostles in
Victoria; group paddleboarding in Sydney
Harbour; snorkeling on the Great Barrier
Reef; kayaking through Katherine Gorge
in the Northern Territory; driving on the
beach in South Australia; cycling around
Lake Burley Griffin; sailing through the
sparkling blue waters of Rottnest Island; or
walking the recently launched Three Capes
Track in Tasmania.”
There’s also a wealth of new development
for incentive groups throughout the country.
Starwood’s Aloft brand is debuting Aloft
Perth Hotel this month. With 224 guest
rooms and almost 10,000 square feet of
meeting space, it also features a rooftop function space with panoramic views of the river.
The five-star Sofitel Sydney Darling Har-
bour is scheduled to open in November and
will be located by the new International
Convention Centre. Further strengthening
the $3.4 billion redevelopment of the harbor
area is the Hyatt Regency Sydney’s newly
opened Zephyr Bar, a rooftop bar with space
for 200 guests. Moreover, InterContinental
Sydney is set for an AUD$200 million reno-
vation that will add 509 guest rooms as well
as a new ballroom.
The boutique 93-room Sage Hotel James
Street in Brisbane is open for business, offer-
ing guests spacious event facilities such as the
James Street Conference and Function Cen-
ter. The Brisbane Convention & Exhibition
Center was recently named “World’s Best
Convention Center” at the annual general
assembly of the International Association of
Congress Centers in Nantes, France.
Cairns’ five-star Pullman Reef Hotel Casi-
no has completed AUD$6.5 million worth
of refurbishments, resulting in an upgraded
hotel lobby, expansion of its restaurant, and
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