Climbing aboard a camel to see the sun rise over Ayers Rock was spectacular. Scrambling up through the infrastructure of The Sydney Harbour Bridge for a one-of-a-kind view of Australia's top incentive city was exhilarating. But the biggest thrill for many of the U.S. incentive buyers who participated in Dreamtime 2009, which brought 80 incentive buyers to Australia in mid-October for a business forum, was playing football with a bunch of kids in the Outback at Voyages Ayers Rock Resort.
Nick Ambrose, business development executive with the Northern Territory Convention Bureau, says it was the first time they had tried this type of program, but given the experience, it won't be the last. The kids, who ranged in age from pre-teen to almost 20 years old, proved to be good coaches, though the innate shyness of the Anangu, as the local indigenous people are collectively known, did make for a tentative start. Before long, differences in age, origin, culture, and physical abilities melted away as everyone strove to score goals for their team.
Once attendees left the field, the emphasis on corporate social responsibility continued. During the rest of the fam trip to Ayers Rock, also known as Uluru, attendees learned more about the Anangu culture, history, and mythology through guided tours. Participants also learned about the area's natural history and tried their hands at traditional dot-painting and spear-throwing.
The U.S. contingent then traveled to Sydney to join the entire international Dreamtime 2009 group for the business forum that connected buyers and sellers. There, everything was so green one could be forgiven for thinking Australia's top incentive destination was the new Emerald City. For example, the Doltone House at Darling Wharf, where the opening dinner was held, includes a system that treats sewage for reuse in watering the adjoining parkland. The venue is constructed of concrete made from recycled products and high-performance glass, insulation, and building materials to minimize heat loss and gain, and it also includes C02 sensors and variable-speed fans to ensure high indoor-air quality.
Organizers used fuel-efficient vehicles, minimized the need for transfers, and used local food-and-beverage products for functions. Leftover food was donated to Oz Harvest, which redistributes the food to charities that support the disadvantaged and at-risk communities in Sydney, Wollongong, and Canberra.
Even the airline was chosen with eco-friendliness in mind. Qantas' charitable trust, The Qantas Foundation, partners with a variety of community and environmental groups; the airline also uses a fuel-efficient fleet and offers an integrated carbon-offset facility in its online booking tool. —Sue Pelletier