The Association of Australian Convention Bureau (AACB) is confident the business events industry will play an integral part in rebuilding Australia’s visitor economy this year.
The association is urging businesses and event planners across the country to host events in Australia to support bushfire impacted regions, as well as other communities across Australia who have also been impacted from fewer visitors.
The AACB has also welcomed the Australian Government’s prompt recovery response to the recent bushfires, including through its initial A$76m Tourism Recovery Fund and efforts to address what it terms ‘global misinformation and perceptions’ about the bushfires.
The AACB has also praised Tourism Australia for the speed at which it has activated the additional investment by Government.
Launched 27 January, the ‘Event Here This Year’ campaign is a domestic marketing initiative by Business Events Australia that will encourage Australian businesses and event planners to hold their meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions at home rather than abroad. This initiative will leverage Tourism Australia’s Holiday Here This Year campaign which also sends the message that Australia is open for business.
AACB CEO, Andrew Hiebl said: “Not many business events destinations across Australia were directly impacted by the bushfires, however some regional destinations are still feeling the impacts of other recent natural disasters.”
“Business events are typically long lead, but this targeted campaign will stimulate the short-term domestic meetings market and provide a much-needed boost to their local economies.”
As at July 2019, there were 401 international business events confirmed for Australia through to 2026 on AACB’s Forward Calendar, expected to attract around 475,000 total delegates. At this time, a further 256 international bids were awaiting a decision, scheduled to take place over the next seven years and could attract more than 250,000 total delegates. These statistics highlight the strategic long-term nature of the business events industry and the potential future risk pertaining to any negative perception of brand Australia and international travel today.
In addition, AACB’s member convention bureaux confirmed 530 domestic business events over the same period, expected to attract 236,000 total delegates. Any uptick in the domestic business events market over the next year through the Event Here This Year campaign could offset some impacts of international travel uncertainty at this time.
Mr Hiebl added: “A rallying cry of ‘corporate mateship’ will support the many venues, hotels and restaurants that have been directly and indirectly impacted by the recent bushfires.
“We look forward to working with the Australian Government and Tourism Australia on any future business events initiative to further stimulate the industry and jobs.
“Bureaux around the country are also paying attention to the impact of the recent Coronavirus forcing travel restrictions out of China and potential impacts to incentive group travel.”
Business Events Australia has developed a series of campaign assets to urge organisations to hold their events in the country this year. The toolkit can be found at www.businessevents.australia.com