AUSTRALASIA – One of Australia’s most successful convention bureau’s will have its state funding cut by 28% from 2016, despite delivering above target results for delegate expenditure.
In a budget statement released 14 May, Western Australia’s State Treasurer, Hon Dr Mike Nahan MLA announced a 28% reduction in funding for the Perth Convention Bureau’s (PCB) Business Events Marketing and Promotional Services Agreement with Tourism Western Australia (TWA) for the financial years 2016/17 to 2018/2019.
Established since 1972, PCB has been responsible for driving the business events sector in Western Australia by securing large, conferences and marketing.
In the last financial year, PCB secured direct delegate expenditure of AUS$107.9m (US$87.1m), delivering 104% of the annual target of $104m.
And the PCB says it is again on track in 2014-2015 to exceed its annual target of securing $106m in direct delegate expenditure to the State.
“Forward estimates are disappointing and I know that many in the hospitality and business events industry will be shocked by the proposed level of funding in the three financial years, commencing 2016-2017,” said PCB chairman, Ian Laurance.
“This substantial reduction of funding is discouraging, particularly in the context of PCB being one of the highest performing convention bureaus in Australia with an ROI to WA State Government investment of 31:1 – double that of its east coast capital city bureau competitors”, said PCB’s chief
executive officer, Paul Beeson.
“Further, PCB has almost doubled its cooperative funding and activities with the tourism industry over the last four years,” Beeson added.
Business events delegates are the highest yielding of any tourism sector, five times that of a leisure tourist, so a reduction of these visitors, the bureau noted, would be represent a regressive outcome for Perth and Western Australia, particularly with the concurrent growth in venue and accommodation space.
“In view of the increased convention space that will accompany the new hotels both under construction and proposed for Perth, this is not the time for the government to be cutting back on
the marketing of Western Australia as a business events destination”, said Laurance, who noted the PCB had been around for 42 years and would continue to do the best job it can for the tourism and business events industry.
“While we understand the straitened circumstances facing the State Government at this time, a lower level of funding for
PCB in future years will make the task of increasing our market share extremely difficult,” Laurance added.
PCB said it intended to press the State Government reinstate the level of funding for its future contract period.