ichael Matthews , CEO of Canberra Convention Bureau , says the Australian capital is seeing strong domestic demand for events , “ but international will be some way off . We ’ ve needed to be creative with virtual site inspections when decision-makers can ’ t be here in person ”.
In terms of the outlook for 2022 , Matthews says some international meetings that are easier to travel to will go ahead , and that bodes well for future pent-up demand for a destination like Australia .
Matthews also notes Canberra is excited to now see a return of international students at its universities . “ It ’ s these students that will really help with the skills shortages that many tourism-related businesses have been experiencing ,” he adds , noting events businesses have taken the time to innovate , refresh and rebuild for the recovery .
As for how long he thinks it will take to get back to 2019 numbers , Matthews says : “ Realistically I think it has to be about full participation , and that includes international . While we ’ ll be extremely busy over the next couple of years due to organisers holding events in normal and nontraditional periods , I think it ’ ll be early 2025 until the entirety of the supply chain is fully back .”
So , what ’ s new in the capital ?
“ There ’ s always something new to discover in Canberra , from ways to conveniently get around , ways to wow delegates , and new ways to look at history ,” says Matthews .
Discover a new way to look at history
Take a tour through the National Triangle and unearth Australia ' s hidden history on the new She Shapes History tours . Your guide will walk you through the story of the nation from the perspective of Australian women . Hear stories of friendship , survival , creativity , rebellion , and love .
The Marion at Regatta Point
Nestled in a lakeside setting at Regatta Point , The Marion is Canberra ’ s new high-end function space , launching in 2022 . The luxurious venue is named after Marion Mahoney Griffin , the sometimesforgotten visionary behind the design of Canberra ’ s skyline .
Here you ’ ll find lakeside alfresco spaces and bespoke catering packages .
Connections between venues or meetings are getting easier thanks to Canberra ’ s network of 1,500- plus shared e-scooters available to hire . The ACT Government plans to expand this to all the major town centres in 2022 , including Gungahlin , Woden , Tuggeranong and Molonglo .
Elevated meetings and conferencing
The new Two24 Conferencing by Work Club has brought a new level of gathering places to Canberra . The
venue is located in the heart of the city and is fitted out with designer pieces . The venue offers state-of-theart conferencing technology for both in-person and hybrid meetings .
As to how the bureau is positioning to win back business , Matthews points to Canberra ’ s reputation for leading on vaccination , the city ’ s design and its leadership in sustainability and diversity and inclusion . “ We ’ re communicating this better digitally and improving the virtual experience – just in case borders and travel curve balls present themselves once again ,” he says .
New business continues to be won , Matthews adds . “ We ’ re seeing that light at the end of tunnel getting closer . We ’ re ready to share the best of our city as organisations are looking to recharge their people for the challenges ahead .”