The Premier and Minister for Tourism, the Honourable Colin Barnett MLA, has reversed a proposed future funding cut to the Perth Convention Bureau (PCB).
The bureau had been set to lose up to 30% of its funding over the next three years, until a lobbying campaign by the business events industry helped put pressure on the authorities to rethink the move.
Local business tourism professionals welcomed the reversal as “critical” to the future of developing the city’s sector given the considerable expanded accommodation and venue space currently opening and due to open in the near future.
PCB’s Chairman, Ian Laurance AM, said: “This increased importance on the value of tourism, and particularly the business events sector, will be critical for the State’s economy in future years.
“The additional funds for PCB will allow the organisation to meet the challenges to fill all the wonderful new hotels and convention spaces.”
PCB’s chief executive officer, Paul Beeson, said: “We are grateful to the Premier and State Government for the reinstatement of this funding, particularly given the fiscally tight environment in which the government currently sits. It’s an important acknowledgement of the high return on investment PCB offers and recognition of the role of business tourism in the economy and fabric of our State. We are a relatively small, but extremely high yielding sector”.
Unlike many WA Government-funded agencies and activities, the economic value of the conferences secured by PCB can be empirically measured and audited.
The delegates of these conferences spend over five times more than leisure tourists, their numbers and length of stay in Western Australia can be accurately valued.
Based on these values, PCB delivers an ROI of over A$30 for every dollar invested by the State Government, far exceeding competitor east coast bureaux.
Beeson added: “In the context of our State’s increasing reliance on the visitor economy and the expanding venue and accommodation stock, any cuts to such a successful organisation and industry are illogical, hence why the funding cut reversal is so very welcome”.
“We are very grateful to the Shadow Minister for Tourism, Paul Papalia; Tourism Western Australia; PCB Members; our industry and its representative bodies the Australian Hotels Association (WA); Tourism Council of Western Australia; the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia Inc.; and the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux for their vocal support during this funding crisis” Beeson added.