Delegates representing 18 organisations from around Australia flew into Canberra last week for Canberra Convention Bureau’s annual familiarisation event ‘Top Secret’.
Top Secret is a key initiative for the Bureau to attract new business events to Canberra. The event sees a select group of national corporate and association meeting planners invited to the capital for three days showcasing a side of Canberra they haven’t seen before. The event has a strong track record of bringing in tens of millions of dollars in meeting and convention business for the city with over $88M in economic contribution to-date.
Once in Canberra the group, consisting of CEOs, business and event managers were hosted on an educational tour of leading hotels, venues, dining and activities that are changing how Canberra is viewed as a host city. Canberra Convention Bureau CEO, Michael Matthews says the program exemplifies Canberra’s united business events community and how the combination of knowledge, culture and influence are key elements that position the capital as a business events leader.
“Top Secret showcases Canberra’s energetic and creative business events community that stands ready to deliver world-class business events,” Mr Matthews said. “Decision makers see firsthand just how great their business event in Canberra will be.”
One of the highlights of Top Secret 2017 was a gala dinner at the National Museum of Australia to welcome the delegates, and attended by Bureau members and the local business community. At the dinner, Chief Minister Andrew Barr welcomed delegates and spoke about Canberra as a city on the move. Mr Barr highlighted Canberra’s recent major developments such as new international flights into Canberra Airport as well as the billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure projects happening over the next four years.
Another stand out event was a private tour of the blockbuster exhibition Versailles: Treasures from the Palace, at the National Gallery of Australia followed by a cocktail party in Gandel Hall, appropriately themed ‘Dripping in Gold’.
Top Secret attendee Sharon Anderson from the Australian Earthquake Engineering Society said her perceptions of Canberra changed after seeing the destination for herself. “The sheer amount of choice Canberra offers in terms of venues and accommodation, and the range of styles took me by surprise,” Ms Anderson said. “Canberra really has a lot of hidden gems.”