Adelaide hosts state’s largest business event since start of global pandemic

Adelaide has hosted the state’s largest business event since March, signalling the reopening of the region’s events industry.

With South Australia described as one of the most COVID-safe destinations in the world, business events are again operating in Adelaide to assist delivery of the state’s new COVID-normal economic growth.

With an advance COVID-safe sign-off from Health SA, Adelaide Convention Bureau (ACB) organised and delivered the state’s largest business event since the start of the global pandemic.

Held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, the Connect SA conference’s prime objective was to give the business event sector confidence that such events can be held now and successfully.

The event’s main guest panel included Penny Lion from Business Events Australia, who spoke positively of what was ahead despite international travel mostly on hold until well into 2021.

The panel also spoke about the thirst for face-to-face reconnection and of the invaluable knowledge transfer such events provide.

Most Connect SA delegates were ACB members and their event clients, and the event’s associated exhibition with 44 exhibitors reported successful national and local business dealings being conducted.

ACB chief executive Damien Kitto said Connect SA is a clear signal of a national re-opening for the business event sector, but most especially for South Australia, which he believes has the nation’s strongest COVID-safe sector.

“We have that because we began preparing for the sector’s reopening from the beginning of COVID. We knew we must be ready, and we are,” he said.

“Connect SA adds another success for the ACB on behalf of the state, because we already bested the nation by achieving an 85 per cent success in postponing booked 2020 business events into 2021 and 2022,” he said.

The ACB’s safe end-to-end (airport-to-airport) COVID-safe promise campaign, which was launched in June to attract prospective national clients, is now also attracting more than two dozen events which had previously been booked into the eastern states.

“With the visible success of Connect SA, we now intend for more to follow,” Kitto said.

“The success of Connect SA, which included food service, the exhibition and the COVID-safe movement of delegates in and out of different rooms, was impressive.

“It has given Health SA and us the confidence to secure national business events here even before the end of 2020.

“Restarting these events is critical to the state’s economy – something that has not really been recognised in SA, as it had been in other states and internationally, until recently.”

The ACB’s latest annual report revealed that the organisation has secured some $208 million for the state in the FY 2019/20, even with the advent of COVID, and a return on investment to government of some 160 per cent.