The Evolution of Events in Darwin: A Look at CMW

The Evolution of Events in Darwin: A Look at CMW
The Evolution of Events in Darwin: A Look at CMW

A Record-Breaking Year for the Darwin Convention Centre

Australia’s Darwin Convention Centre has experienced a remarkable year in terms of attendance and success. Peter Savoff, the general manager, shares his insights on the recent achievements and the future strategic development of the business.

Unprecedented Success in 2023

The year 2023 has been exceptional for the Darwin Convention Centre. We have witnessed conferences with record-breaking delegate registrations, and our venue has recorded the highest-ever national delegate attendance since its establishment in 2008. Moreover, international attendance has also returned to pre-pandemic levels.

This news is incredibly exciting as it signifies that people are eager to travel again and are willing to go the extra mile to attend conferences in unique and vibrant regional destinations like Darwin.

Conference organizers are increasingly seeking destinations that offer delegates the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of larger cities, allowing them more time to network and forge meaningful connections. Darwin fulfills all these criteria.

Proud Milestones and Achievements

Managed by ASM Global, the Darwin Convention Centre has achieved significant milestones over its 15 years of operation. These accomplishments stand as a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team.

The Centre has gained international recognition as a world-class venue that consistently delivers extraordinary events for its clients. We have been honored with prestigious awards, including winning Gold at the 2021 Australian Tourism Awards for Best Business Events Venue in Australia. Additionally, we secured a sixth-place global ranking in the latest AIPC APEX Awards, based on client ratings.

Through our participation in benchmarking programs, we ensure that we provide world-class service and continuously improve year after year.

Supporting Key Sectors and Industries

As the premier conference venue in the Northern Territory, the Darwin Convention Centre plays a vital role in attracting international business events that align with our region’s key industry sectors. We collaborate closely with the Northern Territory Business Events team to lead and manage international convention bids for the city.

In 2021, we launched the Bid Champion Grant program to promote Darwin and the Northern Territory as an outstanding business events destination. Successful applicants receive funding as bid champions and act as global ambassadors for our region. The program’s success led to subsequent rounds of applications, with more to come.

Contributing to Economic Development

The Darwin Convention Centre significantly contributes to the economic development and growth of the Northern Territory. By hosting national and international events, we attract delegates, exhibitors, and visitors from around the world. These events stimulate local tourism, hospitality, and service industries, leading to increased economic activity, job creation, and business opportunities in the region.

In the 2023 financial year, delegate contribution to the Darwin economy from conferences at the Centre reached a record-breaking A$67.5m. Forward bookings indicate that this figure will likely be surpassed in the current financial year, with nearly 20,000 national and international delegates expected.

Support for Conference Organizers

The Darwin Convention Centre strives to connect conference organizers with local businesses that can support their events. Our close-knit tourism and events community enables us to provide seamless end-to-end support in planning and delivering business events. Associations choosing Darwin as their conference destination can easily connect with local experts, invite government leaders as speakers, and organize field visits to educational research centers, industry sites, or remote communities.

We also work closely with the Northern Territory Business Events, which administers the Northern Territory Business Events Support Fund. This fund provides financial assistance to qualified organizers, prioritizing events that align with the Northern Territory’s economic and social strengths.

Promoting Local Culture and Traditions

The Darwin Convention Centre acknowledges the Larrakia people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land on which the Centre stands. We have a close relationship with the Larrakia Nation and collaborate with local Indigenous organizations to offer meaningful cultural experiences for delegates.

Conference organizers can incorporate a Welcome to Country ceremony at the start of their events, and delegates can participate in a Larrakia Saltwater ceremony in the nearby Darwin Waterfront Precinct Lagoon. These ceremonies provide a deep connection to the land and sea, and delegates often consider them as highlights of their conference experience.

In the near future, the development of the A$40m Larrakia Cultural Centre next to the Convention Centre will further enhance these experiences. The Cultural Centre will serve as a permanent place for the Larrakia people to share and celebrate their rich culture, language, and knowledge.

Access to Darwin

Darwin, Australia’s northernmost capital city, is conveniently located near Southeast Asia. Delegates from across Australia and Asia can converge in Darwin within three to five hours of flying time.

Major international and domestic carriers offer direct flights to Darwin from major Australian cities on a daily basis. Additionally, there are regular direct services from Denpasar and Singapore. This accessibility allows international delegates from the UK, Europe, Middle East, and the USA to easily reach Darwin via Singapore and Indonesia.

Enhancing Accessibility

Post-pandemic, air access to Darwin has become a significant challenge both nationally and internationally. The local airport authority and the NT Government are actively engaged in discussions with Southeast Asian neighbors to re-establish air routes, as their capital cities are well-known international travel hubs.

Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Practices

The Darwin Convention Centre is committed to minimizing its environmental impact and operating as one of the most environmentally responsible venues in Australia. We have implemented various initiatives to achieve this goal, including achieving the Bronze Benchmarking Standard through EarthCheck. Our aim is to work towards achieving a Certified Silver Status.

We regularly track our environmental performance, measuring energy consumption, water usage, and waste diversion. This data-driven approach allows us to identify areas for improvement and implement targeted strategies. Our Green Team plays a pivotal role in our sustainability efforts, meeting monthly to discuss ongoing initiatives and brainstorm new ideas.

Challenges and Opportunities Ahead

As the general manager, I see both challenges and opportunities for the Darwin Convention Centre in the coming years. While our location presents a unique tropical destination, it can also be a challenge for international delegates due to the distance. However, we are working hard with the local business events industry to demonstrate our technological capabilities and ability to produce carbon-neutral conferences.

On the other hand, our proximity to Southeast Asia is an advantage. Australia remains an aspirational destination for business events, and Darwin, with its internationally acclaimed convention centre, offers a convenient solution for conference organizers from Southeast Asia.

Author’s Quote

“The Darwin Convention Centre is proud to be a leading venue that consistently delivers exceptional events for our clients. We are committed to providing world-class service and creating meaningful connections in a unique and vibrant regional destination like Darwin.” – Peter Savoff, General Manager


The Darwin Convention Centre has had an outstanding year, breaking attendance records and attracting international events. With its commitment to excellence, support for key sectors, and promotion of local culture, the Centre contributes significantly to the economic development and growth of the Northern Territory. As the future unfolds, the Centre will continue to face challenges and seize opportunities, ensuring that Darwin remains a premier destination for business events.

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