BUSINESS events are a valuable source of revenue for Australia with over 38 million people attending more than 429,500 events across the country last year, generating AU$30.2 billion (US$23.3 billion) in direct expenditure and 193,500 jobs.
Figures from Ernst & Young revealed the industry also contributed AU$24.9 billion (US$19.2 billion) to Australia’s total GDP.
The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) said the significance of Australia’s MICE travel industry and its impact on international diplomacy should be officially recognized by Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper.
The AACB outlined recommendations with key issues to lobby for its White Paper entry, the main bid being a national convention fund of up to US$7.8 billion per year in order to increase Australia’s competitiveness in the regional scene.
A recommendation was also put out to grant overseas delegates access to fee-free Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) visa schemes for major business events.
AACB chief executive Andrew Hiebl said in a statement:
“Business events are a crucial part of the Australian Government’s foreign policy strategy.
“The business events segment of the tourism industry can help build on the government’s economic diplomacy agenda with the assistance of these targeted policy measures.”
He said governments around the world were investing in and supporting their business events industry as an attraction for trade, foreign investment and global talent. Australia will have to follow suit if it wants to keep up with global players.
While growth is promising, Australia is still missing out on key bids. According to AACB last year, Australia made 235 unsuccessful bids for business events across the next decade, losing out an estimated AU$805 million (US$616 million) in direct delegate expenditure.
Those losses can be attributed to attractive financial packages being offered by regional countries as well as the capital of Sydney being an expensive city in general.