South Australia pulls off first business exchange for 2021

Australia’s first business exchange event for 2021 was successfully staged in Adelaide despite lockdown and quarantine setbacks impacting some delegates.

Destination South Australia was held February 10-13 after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic. The event aimed to demonstrate to participants its ability to organise a business exchange, gala dinner and famil programme using its end-to-end Covid Safe health and safety plan for visitors, billed as unique to the state.

Adelaide is the first city in the country to host a 2021 face-to-face business exchange event

The event was also significantly seen as a reboot of business events in the city after a year that saw many tourism trade businesses crippled financially.

“Our Safe SA campaign is one reason I’m sure (how) Adelaide Convention Bureau (ACB) has managed to lead Australia for business events,” said Damien Kitto, CEO of ACB, the programme’s organisers.

“The world’s best venues and accommodation in 2021 stand for nothing unless they’re healthy and safe. We’re really proud that 85 per cent of events (booked) in 2020 have been rescheduled to either 2021 or 22, which is a phenomenal effort.”

Destination South Australia welcomed 24 delegates in-person, with additional participants joining virtually.

This is as delegates from Western Australia were unable to join after a state lockdown, while some from Victoria cancelled after new quarantine rules required them to fly in a day early for Covid-testing and hotel quarantine until test results were available.

“Everything you plan early in 2021 means you have to stay nimble and adroit at reconfiguring,” Kitto said in an earlier press release. “You simply have to accept (that) clusters, snap lockdowns, border restrictions are our unfortunate new normal for now, and work around them. For Destination South Australia we have done exactly that”.

Delegates were shown the city’s new hotels, including the Crowne Plaza, Oval Hotel and the much-anticipated Eos by Skycity, part of Adelaide’s integrated entertainment complex.

“There’s an awful lot of choice and we have a lot of quotes coming our way,” said participant Dale Gilson, CEO of the Austin Funeral Directors Association. “But it’s been great to see people face to face. The funeral industry is all about relationships and Covid made a tough job even harder. (Our members) really enjoy coming together (to) learn from each other so being face to face is invaluable,” he continued.

At the time of publishing, South Australia has just three active Covid cases from overseas travellers who are in hotel quarantine.

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