“The show must go on,” declared the organisers of the Panalitix Accountants’ Conference, who were in the final planning stages for their annual conference when Cyclone Debbie smashed into the Whitsundays making it impossible for Hamilton Island to host the 400-delegate event later this month.
Using hashtags such as #nevertoolate #stillgonnabeawesome #debbiedidhammo, the organisers informed delegates of the change of destination less than three weeks before the scheduled start of the event when it became obvious that Hamilton Island wouldn’t be fully operational to cater for such a major conference.
It took just a few days for the Sunshine Coast’s Novotel Twin Waters Resort to come to the rescue with their events team organising function space, conference staging, an awards night and accommodation for the group. The Novotel was already heavily booked, so the hotel’s team organised additional accommodation at the adjacent Sebel Twin Waters and nearby hotels to ensure the full conference group could be catered for.
The conference will be held from 26 – 30 April, and will include the prestigious Panalitix Annual Achievement Awards (The PAC Awards).
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Latchford, who also worked for Whitsunday Tourism for a number of years, said that it was a great example of Queensland destinations helping each other out in a time of need.
“I have been communicating with Craig Turner the CEO of Tourism Whitsundays, and the good news is that the region is already working hard to get back on its feet and welcome visitors over the Easter holidays, but hosting a conference for 400 following the disruption of Cyclone Debbie was going to be far more difficult, so we were very happy to help out,” said Mr Latchford.
“What affects one part of Queensland affects us all and our thoughts are very much with all our tourism colleagues and their families in the Whitsundays.
“Fortunately the Sunshine Coast escaped most of Debbie’s fury, so we were in a good position to take on the conference and it is a tribute to the Novotel conference and events team that they were able to turn this around so quickly. We’re sure delegates of the Panalitix conference will have an enjoyable and productive time, despite the challenges that come with such a last-minute relocation.”