The landscapes and fascinating culture of Australia’s Red Centre were recently on display when a group of specialist event planners from Australia and New Zealand participated in Uluru Showcase.
The event which ran in early August was hosted by the Northern Territory Convention Bureau and their Uluru industry partners. It was the second time an Uluru Showcase event had been held, with the program featuring stunning locations, engaging activities and the opportunity to gain insights into the ancient Aboriginal culture and spiritual heart of Australia.
The fifteen participants represented the association, corporate and professional event management sectors and were shown how the destination’s impressive capacity and capability so effectively delivers for meetings, conferences and incentives. A ‘Meet the Market’ networking session early in the program provided invaluable introductions to local Uluru operators and suppliers, including Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, which was the key accommodation partner.
Diverse perspectives of the massive Uluru monolith were delivered by day and by night via a range of creative activities and off-site events. These included an early morning sunrise viewing of the spectacular ‘Field of Light’ installation courtesy of AAT Kings, an exciting flight transfer with Professional Helicopter Services, a scenic sunset excursion across the desert sands with Uluru Camel Tours, and an Uluru Segway tour around Uluru’s base.
Cultural insights were also a feature of the program and included a special ‘Welcome to Country’, an Aboriginal dot-painting workshop with Maruku Arts and a bush tucker tour with SEIT Outback Australia, which also provided an escorted visit to the sacred site domes of Kata Tjuta.
Showcase participants visited the National Indigenous Training Academy, where Voyages conducts its Indigenous Traineeship Program, and were impressed by the excellent outcomes being achieved. Providing certificate qualifications across a range of sectors including hospitality, tourism, retail and horticulture, successful graduates are guaranteed ongoing employment with Voyages or with the company’s employment partners. By the end of 2017, Voyages had achieved 40% Indigenous employment at the resort, with a total of 350 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.
Jenny Watson from David & Goliath Event Management joined Uluru Showcase looking for ideas for her event and found plenty, mentioning the dot-painting workshop, the helicopter flight and the camel ride as highlights. She indicated the challenge would be fitting all the Uluru activities into her conference program. “This has been an amazing experience and I’ve actually started to re-think how I’m going to do the whole conference, as a result.”
The famil showcased the destination’s culinary diversity, ranging from a ‘rustic spit-roast dinner’ at the Uluru Camel Farm to the final evening’s fine dining experience under the stars at Voyage’s exclusive Tali Wiru location, with its awe-inspiring views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The program also included a visit to the resort’s conference facility, Uluru Meeting Place, where participants could visualise how their events would be accommodated.
This year’s ‘Uluru Showcase’ coincided with Jetstar commencing new direct flights from Brisbane into Uluru, opening up even more domestic and international connection options for the Showcase participants to consider for their future events.