ADR Group of Indonesia has been announced the winner of Tourism Queensland’s Million Dollar Memo competition.
The company has beaten 19 other global finalists to claim the prize of AU$1 million (£656,000/US$1.07 million) worth of incentive experiences for its employees.
For the past week, ADR Group’s vice president of international business development, Rusman Salem Mustam, has been competing against representatives from the other firms in a series of challenges staged on the Queensland coast. He was named the winner today at the Sea Temple Resort and Spa in Port Douglas.
Business Traveller has been following the adventures of the finalists throughout the trip, which began on the Gold Coast in the south of the state and culminated in Port Douglas in the north.
They have enjoyed experiences such as getting up close with marine life and Aussie animals in the Gold Coast’s Seaworld and Paradise Country theme parks, a gourmet cook-off in the Sunshine Coast’s Hyatt Regency Coolum, white-water rafting in Cairns, and ocean walking and snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef.
On the way they have travelled in helicopters, hot air balloons, Harley Davidsons and Hummers and stayed in properties such as Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast and the Hilton and Shangri-La hotels in Cairns. Event partners have included Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia.
Anthony Hayes, chief executive of Tourism Queensland, told Business Traveller the event was conceived to showcase the diversity of incentive activities offered by the state and to boost its corporate group business around the world.
“What we’re doing here is the first step in a five-year strategy,” he said. “The idea is that this is a whopping great promotional stunt that is basically an invitation to say to every boss around the world: ‘If you’re a good boss you should be rewarding your staff – don’t give them cash, you should be thinking about rewarding them with a trip to Queensland.’ Kicking off with this will hopefully get companies thinking about us.”
He added: “Our greatest strength is that we have such a depth of different destinations and experiences, so there should be something that suits every company.”
Among the finalists were companies from Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, India, the US, Germany and the UK. The UK finalist was digital agency Reading Room.
They made the shortlist by creating a 60-second video explaining why they were a great company to work for and why Queensland was the ultimate incentive destination. They also undertook campaigns to promote the state and the event.
Some 291 firms from 28 countries entered the competition. Almost 70 per cent of them were from Asia-Pacific, a key incentive market for Australia.
A group of assessors has been observing the finalists’ creativity, communication, and team and leadership skills throughout the week. They praised Rusman for “his enthusiasm for the challenges we set, his obvious love for Queensland and his strong sense of leadership, teamwork and adaptability.”
ADR Group will now have the task of deciding how to spend the prize. Rusman told Business Traveller that ADR Group will be sending groups of about 700 people in waves, including family, to enjoy Queensland.
Report by Michelle Mannion and Margie T Logarta