Opened by Minister for Tourism, Leon Bignell, the first Kangaroo Island Business and Community Expo, jointly run by the Office of the Commissioner (OCKI) and the Kangaroo Island Council proved to be a success.

“The Expo was a blast!”

So said Commissioner for Kangaroo Island Wendy Campana when she was interviewed on FiveAA Radio during the Expo on Monday November 27.

It certainly summed up what everyone felt about the first KI Business and Community Expo, jointly run by the Office of the Commissioner (OCKI) and the KI Council.

More than 150 people visited the Expo to meet with 28 exhibitors during the day-long event, opened by Minister for Tourism, Leon Bignell, who said it was a pleasure to visit the island for the Expo.

“We hope this is the first of an annual event, and judging by the support from the exhibitors and the crowd of visitors here this morning, I’m sure it will be,” Mr Bignell said.

Wendy Campana was delighted with the calibre of presentations, and also by local businesses working towards their own expansion in various areas.

“We have a community wishing to be involved with the future direction of the island,” Wendy said.

“The Expo presented the opportunity for residents and the community to meet with business people, developers, government agencies and industry associations, to find out what’s happening on KI, where the bigger developments are up to, where the smaller developments are and how they are progressing.

“It also provided an excellent opportunity for exhibitors to network with each other – something many of them mentioned at the end of the day,” Wendy said.

Young entrepreneur Carly Bussenschutt presented her new venture at the Expo, Stowaway Kangaroo Island, a private couples retreat set to open in March 2018.

“The Expo was a great networking opportunity within the tourism, food and wine industry, as well as for local businesses taking the opportunity to sell their services to new and up and coming developments,” Carly said.

“OCKI went above and beyond to create a welcoming and professional vibe to the day.”

Wendy Campana thanked all exhibitors including: The Cliffs – Kangaroo Island Golf Course; The Dauncey Hotel; Emu Bay sub-division with Century 21; Rivergum Homes; American River Resort; Bickford’s Distillery; KI Council representing the Airport upgrade, and introducing ChintaAir; the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail; new ferry operator KI Connect and KI Plantation Timbers.

Also on display, Western KI Caravan Park, Hannaford’s Lifetime Private Retreats; and new local businesses Stowaway KI and Sunrise on Falie.

Government agencies available to engage with visitors were SA Water; SA Power Networks, Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure, SA Tourism Commission, SA CFS, Department of State Development, TAFE SA and Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.

OCKI also exhibited, along with ATEC (employment), and industry associations Tourism KI, Business KI, KI Food and Wine Association, KI Industry & Brand Alliance and AgKI.

“The whole purpose of holding this Expo was to give an update to the community on the many activities and developments on the drawing board,” Wendy Campana said.

“Many of these projects can take some time to come to fruition, and it’s understandable that locals would wish to know where they are at, what opportunities might exist for employment, and how the undersea cable and water capabilities are going.

“With the Qantas flights to start very soon from Adelaide and Melbourne, the island is expecting an increase in visitation, and with new projects coming on line, KI needs to be ready, and OCKI’s housing management plan will be in place shortly to assist with that process too,” the Commissioner said.

KI Mayor Peter Clements was happy with the response from developers.

“I am pleased to know that so many developers were attracted to the Expo as exhibitors,” Peter Clements said.

The Expo was funded jointly by the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions fund, the Office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island and the KI Council.