The Gold Coast is a delegate booster and its appeal is only growing

gold coast

The Gold Coast made it into Cvent’s Top 10 Meeting Destinations this year, further evidence of the city’s appeal both to domestic and increasingly international events and incentives.

Meetings & Events Australia held their recent Awards ceremony at The Star Gold Coast, with ICMS Australasia taking home the MEA Platinum Event of the Year award.

Emma Bowyer, owner and managing director of ICMS Australasia, says the Gold Coast’s appeal as a destination, which includes multiple quality venues, a great lifestyle and wonderful weather, always manages to attract a high delegate turnout.

“Because it also works so well as a leisure destination we often see higher delegate partner participation than many other cities around the country,” she says.

“The talk of the ‘bleisure’ movement, mixing business with pleasure, the Gold Coast does that already. For an international conference you can create that truly Australian experience, and for a domestic meeting there are a range of opportunities to come and work and come and play.”

Later this year ICMS Australasia is managing an international meeting in the mining sector on the Gold Coast.

“We are taking delegates beyond the four walls of the convention space by arranging some fun experiences,” says Bowyer. ”One of these is having a breakfast one morning at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.”

A recent report by Marriott International and business events associations PCMA and CEMA highlighted insights into the future of experience design.

One theme was creating a sense of belonging for attendees so “they can have more positive and impactful experiences”.

“When all audiences are able to participate as they are and feel included for who they are,” the report said.

One such event was the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Conference in Asia-Pacific, hosted in partnership with City of Gold Coast.

“The City has been working hard to become a destination that welcomes everyone and they are conscious of the benefits it has on both their community and their economy,” says Julia Svaganovic, Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Conference in the Asia-Pacific’s Coordinator for GetAboutAble.

“We chose our venue SeaWorld Resort Conference Centre because it was step free, offered more wheelchair-accessible accommodations than other options on the Gold Coast and offered an adequate setting for the other accessibility features we wanted to include.”

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AITCAP 2023 was held at Sea World Resort Conference Centre.

The conference also showcased accessible destinations on the Gold Coast, such as iFLY, Adventures 2 Access and the Gold Coast Performance Centre.

Mayor Tom Tate said in the partnership announcement that the city wants “to create an inclusive environment for not only our 13 million annual visitors but for the city’s 660,000 residents”.

“So in practice, accessibility means an opportunity for your event or business to thrive,” says Svaganovic.

The Gold Coast’s appeal has also been bolstered by a number of new luxury hotels under brands that have true international recognition.

Among them is The Langham, Gold Coast, which opened its doors last year. The Langham brand was a welcome addition to the city’s offering but also marked the first beachfront development on the Gold Coast in more than 30 years.

“There’s been a huge appetite from the Sydney and Melbourne markets respectively when sourcing venues, the Langham experience has been highly sought after,” says Nick Clarke, Director of Sales & Marketing at The Langham, Gold Coast.

“Outside of having a ball room with a spectacular design, The Langham is more about being the backdrop for CEOs and businesses trying to drive performance and inspire their teams.”

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The Langham Gold Coast’s Diamond Ballroom.

Beyond the hotel’s 11 event venues including the 400-banquet capacity Diamond Ballroom is the signature restaurant T’ang Court, which garnered a Chef’s Hat just a few months after opening.

“The venue appeals to corporates looking to impress clients or conduct high-level business discussions in a refined setting,” says Clarke.

The Gold Coast’s appeal for the international incentive market is growing but it is also a strong player for the domestic market as well, says Clarke.

“The Gold Coast is a now a highly desirable to the domestic incentive market which is now looking to stay on shore as opposed to international travel,” he says.

Destination Gold Coast’s new Head of Business Events Brooke Campbell says the superb weather and location, unique venues and more than 160 experiences within 30 minutes of the city makes the Gold Coast a sought-after incentive travel destination.

“The investment that has taken place within the Gold Coast over the past three years has been extraordinary with new and reinvigorated hotels, attractions and experiences, so we have an exciting story to show and tell the business events industry,” says Campbell.

The Gold Coast is already increasing its incentive travel pipeline with Amway Thailand bringing over 1,500 delegates to the Gold Coast over five days in March 2025.

Helena Medhurst, Director of Events at Gold Coast based event company Dreamweavers, says unforgettable experiences are key to successful events and the Gold Coast “is the mecca for experiences”.

“The Gold Coast has over 25,000 square metres of conference space which is ever expanding,” she says.

“The city offers everything from a world class convention centre to eccentric little-known spaces where imaginations can run wild. It’s easy to produce creative events when the Gold Coast is your muse.

“We have such an abundance of life here on the gold coast. The weather, the beaches, the hinterland, our ever-growing infrastructure including new airport and world class entertainment that is geared up and at our fingertips. The Gold Coast ticks all the boxes.”