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Mice Asia Net : July 2008
australia LEFT & BELOW: Entertainment played a major part of the Amway China Leadership Seminar programme in Melbourne. agricultural activity in Victoria. The 57-hectare working farm boasts historic cottages that provide a glimpse of how early Australian settlers lived and farmed. Here, activities included sheep shearing, blacksmiths, champion working dogs, teams of Clydesdale working horses, entertainment and a chance to try billy tea and damper. Director of sales and marketing at Phillip Island Nature Park, Nicole Hill said delegates loved the open space and the opportunity to stroll about the island and really got involved with the events. “Other popular attractions were getting a temporary tattoo of a koala, kangaroo or the Australian flag, feeding the horses or watching the cattle being rounded up.” Another highlight of the visit was the Phillip Island Penguin Parade, Victoria’s number one attraction for the Chinese market. The incredibly cute little penguins make their daily pilgrimage from the sea into their sand dune burrows shortly after dark. At Sovereign Hill, a recreation of a goldfields township in the 1850s, delegates could pan for real gold, go underground and tour the Red Hill Mine, watch working horses and indulge in some 1850s style shopping. Again, Amway delegates were quick to get involved and really had a great time. Around 1000 were seated for lunch at one time at Sovereign Hill, where the venue’s catering company, Delaware North, required 230 wait staff and 138 kitchen staff to serve the business delegates. An important part of the Amway program is the full-day business session. To cater for the 1800 delegates at each session, two bays of the Melbourne Exhibition Centre were set up with tiered seating lengthwise to allow each delegate a clear view. Staging Connections provided the technical production and project management for the business sessions and the gala dinner, putting the latest event technology to spectacular use. The four gala dinners were also at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) in an exhibition space transformed into a stunning room, with drapes, chandeliers and panels of lights. A special 1500 square metre kitchen was set up in the adjoining bay, where 90 back-of-house staff prepared and plated food from 12 individual serving points. An additional 250 front-of-house staff served four courses in a record one hour and ten minutes. For Peter Jones Special Events, one of the biggest challenges was to provide the right mix of entertainment for a group of people who had already been serenaded by the Vienna Boys Choir and ABBA and entertained by some of the best performers in the world. After putting forward 40 acts, a final list of six were chosen including String Diva, 100% Kylie, sand artist Stefanos Eleftheriadis, aerial performance artists Etherial Arts and Soul Mystique, a magical dance act that combines ancient Russian ‘Quick Change’ and DanceSport. The theme – World of Light – reflected the bright, happy and prosperous nature of the gala dinner, which was an important part of the overall reward for the Amway distributors while also alluding to the light at the end of great achievement. Amway also used the gala dinners to great effect to reward and inspire its delegates. The highest achievers and honoured guests enter via a red carpet and are publicly announced and applauded, before sitting at a special VIP table. Amway’s Bert Li, who has worked with Amway on all four trips to Australia, first to the Gold Coast in 1999, then Sydney and the Gold Coast on a second occasion in 2006, says that Australia has the facilities, the attractions, climate and friendly people, that make it an attractive destination for Amway China. “Melbourne is a lovely city, plus it has the venues, hotels and flight capacity that are not available in some other Australian cities. There is a lot of variety in Australia for different experiences such as Churchill Island and Sovereign Hill here in Melbourne,” he said. PTC managing director, Chris Zhang, believes Melbourne has sent a strong message to other corporates that the city is very suitable for large Asian incentive groups, particularly in terms of air capacity, accommodation, attractions and the quality of services the city can provide. “Melbourne is another face of Australia. This is what is exciting about Melbourne – it presents itself in a whole new light with a lot of ‘Australian’ experiences,” Mr Zhang said. miceAsia.net 59