MICE in New Caledonia

MICE in New Caledonia
By admin


MICE planners are being offered significant incentives to book an event in New Caledonia. Suppliers, ground handlers and the tourism board are pulling out all the stops, offering free cocktail parties for groups of up to 200 delegates and a free holiday for the booker plus one other.

Bookings must be made before the end of June 2012 and demand has increased thanks to a new marketing initiative – New Caledonia, Pacific Heart. “We have been advertising since October last year and we actually are getting amazing interest,” said Janet Sayer from New Caledonia Tourism.

In the past five months operators on the ground have seen a difference. “There has been a ver y large increase in the number of requests for quotes since New Caledonia Tourism increased the awareness of the destination for this market,” said Suzanne Kenyon, director of Transat Tours.

Experts have heralded the destination because it combines first world facilities with Pacific island charm and beauty. “[The campaign] has been extremely well received because New Caledonia can pull out the wow factor. Normally on a Pacific island the food is awful, so the food in New Caledonia is a big drawcard. The food and wine is imported from France so the dining options are attractive,” says Lisa-Maree Montgomery, business development manager for New Caledonia Tourism.

This year 80% of MICE event bookings with Transat Tours are by Australian organisations. Kenyon believes that New Caledonia is an emerging destination for groups to consider.

“Most people have been to Bali or Fiji, not New Caledonia. It is something new and exciting for people invited on the incentive or conference,” Kenyon said.

The marketing to Australian event organisers focuses on New Caledonia’s proximity – a two hour flight from Brisbane and less than three hours from Sydney. “It gives people the feeling that they are going far away because of the variety, diversity, food and the Frenchness of the offering,” Montgomery said.

Recent bookings for MICE events have come from sectors ranging from technology to agriculture. The activities on offer combine to give New Caledonia a wide appeal. Wine tastings are popular and take advantage of imported French tipples. In the past, team building exercises have taken place at go karting tracks and onboard boats in sailing regattas. A recent itinerary featured the PGA standard Tina Golf Course in Noumea.

Organisers are also incorporating activities beyond Noumea. “Just outside Noumea you head into mountainous countryside and you can participate in rodeos and horse riding. It has a lot more to offer than other Pacific islands; it offers more than water sports,” Sayer said.

Sayer also highlighted that venues in New Caledonia can be tailored to the needs of organisers. While private islands off the coast of Noumea can be booked to host events, other venues include the aquarium of Noumea for underwater cocktail parties and the over-water bungalow restaurant Le Roof.

Le Meridien Noumea will host more than 200 delegates for the  Annual Conference of the World Civil Aviation Association in October this year. “Every MICE proposal is tailored to the client’s request based on their program,” Samir Boudjennad, banquet manager at Le Meridien Noumea said.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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