Thursday, April 17, 2008

Meetings in Australia

Many thanks to my friends at the EEAA in Australia for inviting me to participate in their annual Leaders' Forum at the beautiful Werribee Park just outside Melbourne.

I have never been to a conference where the social functions were held in a polo pavilion and very nice it was too. As you can see from the photo below of the EEAA President, Agility's Bob Moore, the weather gods, always fickle in Melbourne, were kind to us.

I was privileged to share the platform with the EIA's Trevor Foley, one of the event industry's great ambassadors who got the audience fired up as ever with his presentations built around the basic slogan of "Believe!". The location was eminently well-suited to this as, between being a country house and a luxury hotel and equestrian centre, Werribee served as a Catholic seminary. I'll bet not so many of the priests expressed their convictions as entertainingly as Trevor does.

The events business down in Australia does appear to be moving forward reasonably solidly without too much sign of impact from economic slowdown elsewhere in the world. There is much talk of new venues along with controversy around the recommendations of former rugby player John O'Neal to the New South Wales government that exhibitions be moved out of the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre to the under-utilised facilities on the 2000 Olympics site.

Here, Trevor is discussing the finer points of polo with Mark Baker, former EEAA Executive Director and now with the gifts association and the organiser of the Sydney boat show.

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