Hobart once again proves to be an impressive destination for large events, welcoming 1,100 rural health professionals for the 15th National Rural Health Conference at the Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart last week. Conferencing and offsite activity also took place at the Old Woolstore and Princes Wharf No.1.

Every two years the rural and remote health sector comes together at Australia’s premier rural health event – the National Rural Health Conference and this year, following a successful bid by Business Events Tasmania in 2016, Hobart was selected to host.

The conference’s great strength draws from the diversity of groups which attend – the health practitioners, consumers, academics, students, politicians and media, with delegates and presenters coming from all over Australia and the world for the three-day conference. Delegates came predominantly from New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland but other Australian states were also well represented.

Initial feedback from the event organisers has been extremely positive with the National Rural Health Alliance’s Manager, Programs and Events; Leanne Coleman saying that ‘the experience has been seamless. [The] Conference had 1,100 delegates and we could easily fit into the plenary hall. The Hotel Grand Chancellor catered for 75 exhibitors, ten concurrent sessions at any one time, over 230 speakers and 21 Keynote speakers.  The sit-down dinner for 900 was held at Princes Wharf 1, just short walk from the Hotel Grand Chancellor.

When asked about the highlights of holding the conference in Hobart, the response was, ‘definitely working with the locals! The conference advisory committee was formed from our Tasmanian colleagues.  The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre provided cultural advice over the past 12 months and gave delegates a very moving welcome to country.

‘The rural health sector is a friendly bunch and the last thing we want is to breeze into a town, have a meeting and breeze out.   It is important to us to have the local community on board.’

Coleman also acknowledged the main conference venue, saying ‘The Hotel Grand Chancellor has been fantastic and one of the impressive features was their commitment to recycling and reducing food waste.  There was not a plastic straw or bottle to be seen.’

This is a great example of Tasmania’s ability to host conferences in the 1,000+ delegate range.  Tasmania continues to be seen as a highly desirable destination because everything’s so accessible – venues are walking distance to offsite options, hotels, restaurants and local experiences.

Conferences of this size are given a warm welcome by locals. Hobart offers all the benefits of a bigger city conference but without the hassles. It’s an experience quite unique to Tasmania.

Image – courtesy of Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart