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Australian bureaux want fund to secure more international meetings

The Australian Association of Convention Bureaux says it is losing out to rival destinations

Pictured: Andrew Hiebl

Convention bureaux across Australia have secured almost 400 international business events for the next ten years - but the percentage of meetings lost to rival countries continues to grow.

To combat the problem the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) has called for a national convention bid fund to help organisations offset the cost meeting in a long-haul destination.

Some 396 events are in the pipeline, according to the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux, which released its Forward Calendar of International Business Events secured by July this year.

That was a three per cent increase on the previous report, published at the beginning of the year, but the number of lost business opportunities grew by a worrying seven per cent to 316.

A shortening of average event duration is also predicted to reduce delegate spend.

Andrew Hiebl, chief executive of AACB, said: “There is no doubting the important work that convention bureaux do to secure international business events for Australia; conventions, exhibitions and incentives that wouldn’t otherwise come to the country. AACB’s members have worked to attract approximately 222,500 international delegates to Australia across the next decade, equating to over half a billion dollars in direct delegate spend.”

He said: “This outcome has been predominantly driven by the strength of our professional bid delivery, financial support put forward by state and local governments, and the industry – overlaid by the fact that Australia is a safe and highly desirable destination to hold an international event.

Hiebl said the number of business events lost remained a concern. 

“This lost business equates to more than one billion dollars in direct delegate spend which will now take place in competing countries. International business events attract high yielding visitors and are therefore highly sought after. Key reasons why organisers choose competing destinations are Australia’s geographic isolation from the rest of the world, executive influence and cost factors.

“If Australia is to secure more international business events, strong consideration should be given to the establishment of a dedicated national convention bid fund, an initiative which other countries now have in place to mitigate the risks of hosting international business events in long-haul destinations. The bid pipeline outlines the opportunity, with 206 international bids in play, with an economic benefit estimated at more than half a billion dollars, and 139,000 international delegates.”


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