Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC) was delighted to welcome Ozwater’21 in May, representing the first major national conference & exhibition to be held at the Centre since the pandemic started.

Presented by the Australian Water Association, with the support of Principal Sponsor SA Water, the South Australian Government and Team Adelaide destination partners, the Adelaide Convention Centre and Adelaide Convention Bureau, the three-day event was a record by all measures. Not only was it the world’s largest water conference in 2021, but represented Australia’s largest conference event since early 2020 (pre COVID).

“Ozwater has always been a wonderful event and one that we look forward to welcoming to Adelaide; this year, it was made all the more important given its timing in our recovery,” comments Simon Burgess, General Manager, Adelaide Convention Centre.

Attracting 2,500 attendees from across the country, including registered delegates, exhibitors and trade visitors, this year’s event represented the first time the water industry had been able to gather together under one roof in two years after their 2020 event was moved online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Significantly, the high attendance represented a record for Ozwater in Adelaide, reinforcing the strong appetite and support for the return of face-to-face events.

The three-day conference program saw keynote presentations complemented by more than 130 technical sessions and 80 pitch presentations, along with inspiring, interactive workshops and panel sessions, and an 8,338sqm exhibition featuring some 160 exhibitors. The face-to-face program was supplemented by a virtual program to help extend the event’s reach to offsite, international delegates.

Ozwater’21 shows what can be achieved when organisers are determined and go through the right processes and practices to ensure the safe delivery of a face-to-face business event. It was encouraging to see the Australian Water Association team rewarded for their efforts with record attendance, and in partnership with the Adelaide Convention Centre, deliver a successful event which will inspire confidence for the rest of the industry as we all continue to move through the recovery period,” adds Burgess.

He concludes, “It was a definite thrill to welcome the activity and energy back to our venue. Ozwater’21 didn’t just give a lift to the destination and the Centre, but served as a means to energise our staff, reminding our team of who we are, why we’re here and what it is that we do best”.

Ozwater’21 also serves as a wonderful illustration of the critical role played by business events in the state and national recovery effort. The event delivered significant economic benefit by injecting $5.7 million into the local South Australian economy, along with a great boost to local hotels by generating 4,761 bed nights.

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