Australia’s business events industry has no room for complacency

A NEW report has revealed that business events contributed A$23.1 billion (US$18 billion) to the Australian economy in the last financial year, but industry insiders say the country can still do better.

According to The Value of Business Events to Australia, 37 million people attended more than 412,000 business events held across Australia, generating 179,357 jobs.

Released by the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) at AIME, the report provided “compelling evidence” of the direct and indirect impacts of business events on the Australian economy, said BECA chairman Matt Hingerty.

Sharing the study findings during a press conference, Karen Bolinger, CEO of the Melbourne Convention Bureau, said: “Business events is a quiet achiever but this new report from BECA, with support from the business events industry, presents a very strong business case to government and industry stakeholders to continue to increase its support and investment in the sector.”

Elaborating on BECA’s next actions following this report, Hingerty said: “Going forward, we will take this report and go to the government to ask for money. We are targeting two sectors that we will be concentrating on for the next few years – health and medical, food and agribusiness.

“For example, we have the new medical research fund announced last year. It could be massive for our sector when you think of the spin-offs we can have, like exhibitions and conventions…and that is an insight on where we are heading for (when we approach the government),” he said.

Yet, Australia has slipped from 13th in 2012 to 16th in 2013 according to ICCA’s yearly rankings.

“The report gives strong evidence of the power of our industry, however, on a world stage, we are losing market share. We believe that business events sector is the ‘sleeping giant’ of the Australian economy. With an end to the mining boom and the decline in manufacturing, the sector has the ability to be a leading force for Australia’s future prosperity,” said Hingerty.

Emphasising the need for government support, he added: “(This further shows) that the business events industry and governments must work together to leverage this great opportunity before us.”

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