“As this was one of the first chances we have had to present the business events story to such a senior political audience, we took full advantage of that opportunity”, said Donaghy, who is CEO of the ICC Sydney as well as AIPC President.
“Sharing this platform with my AIPC vice president and colleague from Singapore provided a further ability to position this sector in the broadest international context, enabling us to underline the important international trade and knowledge exchange implications of the work we do as an industry”.
Panel discussions focused on the ways that business events are a major economic driver for the economy, reaching well beyond immediate tourism benefits such as delegate and event expenditures and venue utilisation to broader and more enduring gains including driving business relationships, knowledge transfer, professional development and industry investment. As a specific example, it was cited that ICC Sydney will play a pivotal role in boosting returns for Sydney and the State, including an expected $5 billion dollars in incremental economic benefit to New South Wales over the next 25 years.
Arlando, who is CEO of Singex Venues, referenced the situation in Singapore, which has enjoyed significant growth in business events over the past decade, and noted that convention centres represent a highly complementary interface between the tourism and knowledge economies.
“These two sectors are not in competition, but rather synergistic when properly managed, measured and driven,” he said. “They generate a wide range of benefits and can and must support one another in today’s highly competitive market if the destination is to enjoy overall success, and governments that understand this have a big advantage over their competition”.
Both executives agreed on the critical importance of government understanding and support for the sector in order to optimise the resulting benefits.
“It’s only when governments see the full package of benefits arising from business events that they are prepared to invest accordingly, and it’s our job as an industry to make sure that happens”, said Donaghy.
“As long as we can access this kind of key audience, we will make every effort to share our message in the interests of a better understanding going forward.”