New bid fund a step in the right direction
Having promoted the establishment of a bid fund in its recent Federal Budget submissions, the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) said the investment will cause significant disruption to the global business events landscape and is an important step in reversing the decline in Australia’s global ranking and market share.
“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,” said AACB CEO Andrew Heibl.
“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.”
AACB president Karen Bolinger said the announcement is one of the most important developments for the business events industry in Australia to date.
“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,” she said.
Business Events Council of Australia chairman Matthew Hingerty said the announcement has thrust the business events sector into the heart of Australia’s economic agenda.
“This announcement will allow us to target new events aligned to our new growth sectors and trade agreements, and encourage high value delegates, in both terms of their dollar spend and in terms of the knowledge and relationships they will bring to our country,” he said.
The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) also welcomed the announcement of the fund that will allocate $12 million over three years to attract international business events to Australia.
“Minister Steven Ciobo has been an active campaigner within Government for more investment and we are very pleased with the announcement made this morning at Tourism Australia’s Destination Australia conference in Melbourne,” said EEAA chief executive Joyce DiMascio.
“This is a step in the right direction and will help boost Australia’s capacity to attract events to Australia.”
DiMascio said it was particularly pleasing the fund is designed to be “agnostic” and will be open to all types of business events including exhibitions.
Former AACB president and CEO of Business Events Sydney Lyn Lewis-Smith has been a long time advocate for the fund.
“We have advocated for this fund for years, and it’s gratifying to see the Australian Government commit to this investment and recognise the socio-economic value our sector delivers for the country,” she said.
Tourism & Transport Forum Australia chief executive Margy Osmond said the $12 million fund will also help restore Australia’s competitiveness in attracting high-yield international events.
“While we would have liked to have seen more substantial funding allocated towards this fund, this is a very welcome start,” Osmond said.
“We certainly have no shortage of world-class conference infrastructure, with facilities such as the International Convention Centre Sydney, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and the Adelaide Convention Centre, and now it is time to bring more word-class events into our own backyard.”