The Australian federal government has announced a A$12 million (US$9.20 million) investment under Tourism Australia's Business Events Bid Fund Program over the next three years to boost its business events industry's competitiveness.
The announcement was made by Honourable Steven Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment in mid-March.
AACB president Karen Bolinger said that the investment "will help bring strategic international business events of national significance to Australia…[and] international conventions which boost trade, investment, tourism jobs and help local industries showcase their capability on the world stage."
The investment will add to the A$30 billion business events industry, which contributes to over 193,000 direct jobs each year, according to recent figures released by Ernst & Young.
AACB CEO, Andrew Hiebl says that the timing of this investment is an important step in reversing the decline in Australia's global ranking and market share.
"In 2016, Australia fell to 16th place in the International Congress and Convention Association's country rankings, with global market share falling to 1.73%. A decade ago, Australia was consistently among the top 10 most popular countries to host major international association conventions.
"Our market intelligence shows a 14% 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.
"Thirty-nine percent of international business lost by Australia in 2017 was due to travel distance, followed by 22% due to total event costs and financial incentives offered by competing countries," he explained.
To date, AACB members have secured 361 international business events for the future, with a further 236 bids in the pipeline, equating to a potential half a billion dollars in direct delegate expenditure.