Fillip to MICE at Phillip Island, Australia
An island that helps you indulge in nature conservation along with meetings, says Stephen Peppard, International Sales & Marketing, Philip Island Nature Parks, Australia
How is Phillip Island catering to the MICE market?
We get a lot of MICE groups, from the Indian market. In fact, we had shut down the Penguin Parade for general public once three years ago because we had a big group from India with over 4,000 people. Churchill Island is a location we use for MICE groups because there is space and people can indulge in team activities or the working farm activities. We do conservation work with the groups as well, such as tree planting or animal box building. Also, Melbourne is a great location for MICE groups, offering formal convention venues, and breakaway tourism options like Phillip Island.
What are the challenges of holding a MICE event on an island?
Things to be considered such as activities, capacity, travel time and value for money make Phillip Island one of Australia’s premier MICE locations. Being only 90 minutes from Melbourne means large groups are not wasting valuable time and as the Island is very compact, once groups arrive, all locations are only a matter of minutes apart. Being able to cater to groups of all sizes, up to 4,000 per night, makes Phillip Island the ideal location for MICE groups.
Please tell us about the attractions there.
Phillip Island is a nature park, and is a non profit organisation setup by the state government of Victoria in the mid 1980s to protect the penguin colony which was on a decline. The number of penguins on the island is 32,000. We have 30,000 Australian wild Fur Seals and we receive around one million migratory birds as well. We have a diverse range of activities such as the Penguin Parade; Churchill Island Heritage Farm with sheep shearing, cow milking, working dog trial and whip cracking; The Koala Conservation Centre and the new Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies in partnership with the WWF. And the last product is the Great Ocean tour, where a fast boat takes 47 passengers from Cowes to the Australian wild Fur Seal colony. Other popular attractions within the Indian market are the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory and A Maze’N Things, which is an optical illusion theme park. We have a lot of accommodation on the island as well.
Why is the India market important for you?
We get around 13,000-14,000 Indian visitors every year and are trying to get around 20,000 in total. Considering the potential in this market, with the growing middle class, and with the desire to travel, we think that we would reach this growth. However, we want to project that Phillip Island is more than just Penguin Parade.