BEDA’s Lorelle Chittick on Brisbane’s connectivity evolution

Lorelle Chittick, general manager of Tourism, Business and Major Events at BEDA.

CIM spoke with Lorelle Chittick, general manager of Tourism, Business and Major Events with Brisbane Economic Development Agency, on the eve of the city’s latest tourism campaign Brisbane Favours the Bold.

There is so much happening in Brisbane now, what are you most excited about?  It’s been a journey towards a more sustainable city and that includes the planning behind the Olympics in 2032 and The Star Brisbane’s Queen’s Wharf precinct.

[The vision centres around] the river, which is like a snake that weaves its way in and around the precincts of the city, creating this compact walkable CBD.

The new Neville Bonner Bridge connects across to Queen’s Wharf and then we’ve got the Kangaroo Point Green Bridge, which is going from the other side of the road near the Botanic Gardens and Stamford Plaza Hotel.

People can stay in the city, walk across that bridge to Kangaroo Point and then straight down main road to the Gabba again, so you’ll have linkage to the Gabba precinct.

The Queen’s Wharf precint is connected to the South Bank by a new pedestrian bridge.

What new things are getting the most attention? Australia’s first vertical restaurant Vertigo is built on the side of the Brisbane Powerhouse facade, so it is quite amazing. You get a lift to the rooftop, but then you’re harnessed in for a three-course meal and glass of wine suspended at the top of the Brisbane Powerhouse. Amazing view!

The Amora Hotel has officially opened after a $30 million investment. It’s really very contemporary and luxurious, and its got 11 conference rooms, including an outdoor pool deck space for 150 for stand up events and a grand ballroom.

Which new developments are on the horizon? Howard Smith Wharves are looking at a new floating venue just off Felons as part of their expansion plans. They are also potentially looking at another hotel. The precinct’s levels of inquiry for functions and events just keep growing and growing, so it is very fortunate a fast ferry terminal has been situated now at Howard Smith Wharves so delegates and visitors can easily get to it by public transport.

Are you seeing an uptick in incentive groups? We’re about to welcome our first big one, Nu Skin China which is bringing 1,500. That is followed by another group of around 800 from China. And then Cathay Life in May will welcome another 2,000 from Taiwan. Groups of 500 for incentives just work perfectly for us.

What is the legacy of all this infrastructure development for Brisbane? These significant upgrades to the infrastructure will really catapult the city into a new realm. For business events, we’ll have more venues, we’ll have a better integrated transport network and a very walkable city.

On top of that, we’ll be able to really cope with the visitor numbers and still exceed delegates expectations. But we’ll be able to do that on top of having a few major events in our city.