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Australia unveils major investment in business events

Government cash injection aims to reverse decline of Australia's global ranking for meetings and events

Pictured: AACB president Karen Bolinger

The Australian government has signalled its commitment to business events with a major investment.

Tourism Australia’s newly announced Business Events Bid Fund Program will see a cash injection of $12m (£6.8m) across the next three 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 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 fund will 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.

He said: “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 per cent. 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 per cent 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 per cent of international business lost by Australia in 2017 was due to travel distance, followed by 22 per cent 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.”

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