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Mice Net : August 2009
mice.net top selection excited about a venue or most widely used word in the English language is “unique”. It’s quite simple really: you just make sure that what you’re putting up in front of them delivers what the imagery and the advertising hype purports to have. And then, if your budget warrants it, you do a site inspection to see whether it truly does offer something well above expectations. Paint by numbers I was fortunate a few weeks ago to visit the Byron at Byron Resort Spa and Conference Centre – a unique destination in its own right – and was even more fortunate to participate in a painting class that really was a cut above the rest. The corporate art classes are run by Irena Kirpichnikova (pictured above) who has a company called Byron Bay HeArt Studio. She has been a motivational and corporate trainer for almost 20 years and switched to teaching art classes after participating in one herself. The beauty of her class is that you don’t have to have a creative bone in your body to be able to produce something that you would be proud to hang on your office wall. Group sizes can range from 10 to hundreds. Ours was a comfortable four participants, all of whom were a little nervous about staring at a blank sheet of paper. But Irena puts you at ease in about 10 seconds flat with her simple explanations and step-by-step tutoring. We each produced a portrait using soft pastels on black paper – all very different but equally as amazing considering our lack of experience. The finished products are then packaged up in a cylinder for easy transportation home, or for an additional cost you can have them framed and packed for transportation home. While Irena is based at Byron Bay she is more than happy to travel to run her class. To learn more about this wonderful experience visit www.byron-bay.com/heart-studio/. 52 mice.net New Caledonia If you are ever offered an educational to New Caledonia then I suggest you take it because this destination is a real surprise and, dare I say it, unique considering its heritage. Indeed, New Caledonia’s French heritage has seen it become a popular summer playground for faraway countrymen and women, and to a lesser extent those a little closer to home, including Australia. The destination offers western-standard infrastructure in a tropical island location, and a unique combination of Melanesian culture and French lifestyle that makes it extremely different to anywhere else on the planet. And for that reason alone, it has to be considered unique. In recent times it has emerged as a destination that ticks all the boxes when it comes to the business events market, and is particularly well suited for corporate meetings and incentive travel rewards. Access to New Caledonia from the east coast of Australia is a dream. Just two hours from Brisbane and two-and-a-half hours from Sydney, there are direct flights daily from Sydney and direct flights three times a week from Brisbane. It also boasts a high standard of facilities, AV equipment and... unique venues; and is a great solution for those who want to travel overseas but don’t want to go too far. New Caledonia offers a culture so different to Australia. It’s a unique blend of French and Melanesian culture, described as a destination “where the South Pacific meets the French Riviera”. Newly appointed MICE business development manager in Australia, Merilyn Marsh, says Noumea is positioned perfectly to host conference and incentive groups from Australia. “We’re providing a safe, easy and close alternative that’s as simple to reach as anywhere in Australia,” she said. French born celebrity chef and ambassador to New Caledonia, Gabriel Gate says “New Caledonia is the best French gourmet experience outside of France. Groups can experience French product from patisseries, chocolatiers, to French cooking DISTINCTIVELY UNIQUE IT’S PROBABLY THE MOST OVER-USED WORD WHEN IT COMES TO DESCRIBING VENUES AND DESTINATIONS IN THE BUSINESS TOURISM WORLD, BUT IT’S EXACTLY WHAT EVENT PLANNERS ARE AFTER. Story by brad foster