Image above left to right: Andrew Hiebl, Penny Lion, Honourable Steven Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Joyce DiMascio and Karen Bolinger
The importance of business events to the Australian economy has received significant further recognition in the Federal Government’s tourism policy.
Last week, the Honourable Steven Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment announced Tourism Australia’s Business Events Bid Fund Program, with an investment of $12m across the next 3 years.
Speaking on behalf of the business events industry, the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) said the investment will cause significant disruption to the global business events landscape.
“This announcement is one of the most important developments for the business events industry in Australia to date,” said the AACB’s President, Karen Bolinger.
“The Government’s investment through Tourism Australia’s Business Events Bid Fund Program will help bring strategic international business events of national significance to Australia. It will help Australia attract more international conventions which boost trade, investment, tourism jobs and help local industries showcase their capability on the world stage.
“Recent figures released by Ernst & Young indicate that the business events industry contributes $30 billion in direct expenditure and over 193,000 direct jobs each year.
“This investment will achieve strong results for Australians.”
The AACB, in its recent Federal Budget submissions, promoted the establishment of such a fund, which would provide support to overseas-based organisations seeking to hold a convention in Australia.
AACB CEO, Andrew Hiebl says that the timing of this investment is an important step in reversing the decline in Australia’s global ranking and market share.
“In 2016, Australia fell to 16th place in the International Congress and Convention Association’s country rankings, with global market share falling to 1.73%. A decade ago, Australia was consistently among the top 10 most popular countries to host major international association conventions.
“Our market intelligence shows a 14% decline in the number international bids won in 2017, while economic benefit is predicted to hold steady against 2016 due to increased delegate numbers and longer event durations overall.
“39% of international business lost by Australia in 2017 was due to travel distance, followed by 22% due to total event costs and financial incentives offered by competing countries.
“The strength of our bid delivery is already recognised worldwide. We are confident that this policy initiative will only increase our international competitiveness and attract more business events to Australia.”
361 international business events have already been secured for the future by the AACB’s members, with a further 236 bids in the pipeline, equating to a potential half a billion dollars in direct delegate expenditure.