Hopes up as business events hop back to Australia

The business events slowdown in the past two years is over in Australia, with latest figures showing a confident rebound for the sector.

Tourism Australia's latest industry report reveals that the country is top-of-mind among incentive travel decision-makers and is regarded as an “appealing destination” in the association meetings sector.
Tourism Australia's latest industry report reveals that the country is top-of-mind among incentive travel decision-makers and is regarded as an “appealing destination” in the association meetings sector. Photo Credit: Nick Dunn

We could have guessed that the business event sector had turned a corner in recent months without any formal reporting, and the strong and positive outlook for the industry is confirmed by Tourism Australia's latest findings.

The just-released 2022 Business Events Consumer Demand Project has found the level of confidence and comfort for event planning across Australia continues to grow.

Tourism Australia surveyed 159 association decision makers from three of Australia’s key markets and 399 corporate decision makers from nine key markets between May and June this year.

The project is described as delivering insights into the factors influencing decision makers when choosing a destination for events, including how Australia is perceived and the impact Covid-19 has had on the decision-making process.

Commenting on the study, Tourism Australia executive general manager of commercial and Business Events Australia, Robin Mack, said event decision makers are becoming increasingly confident with travelling and running events abroad, with many expecting the number, size and budget for upcoming programmes to be equal to or greater than they were pre-pandemic.

“It’s fantastic to see that decision makers remain optimistic about the future of events and that there is a strong intention to visit Australia for an event over the next two years,” Mack said.

And it’s not only meetings that are returning, with Mack saying Australia is top-of-mind among incentive travel decision-makers and is regarded as an “appealing destination” in the association meetings sector.

Other findings were:
• 73% intend to plan an incentive trip in Australia within the next six to12 months
• 42% are considering Australia for an incentive trip in the next four years
• Australia is regarded as No. 1 in terms of safety, security, excellent business event facilities, and has world-class beauty and natural environments

Amongst incentive decision makers, Australia is the global leader in consideration, and we have experienced significant increases in appeal and intent over the last 12-months.
Robin Mack, executive general manager of commercial and Business Events Australia, Tourism Australia

Domestic business all fired up

On the domestic front, planners are also demonstrating a high level of positive energy, with 84% of business decision-makers now planning events within the next six to 12 months – a rise of 13% from February 2022.

And it appears as if local entities are taking note of their sentiments with the NSW Government this week releasing a sweetener to planners to entice them to hold a meeting or event in the state over the coming 12 months.

The government is offering to fund up to A$60,000 (US$41,000) in matched funding per business event held in 2023 in Greater Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong. It is the third and final round of the NSW Government’s Accelerate Fund that was created during the pandemic to help stimulate the return of business events.

Applicants can be based anywhere in the country so long as the event takes place over at least one full day between 1 January and 30 November 2023, in an eligible venue in greater Sydney, in Newcastle (two hours north of Sydney) or in Wollongong (one hour south of Sydney).

It is designed to offset the cost of venue hire, in-house catering or AV. NSW Minister for Tourism, Ben Franklin, said the Accelerate programme has invested millions into the business events sector since launch and delivered economic stimulus to communities and industries which was helping accelerate the state’s economic recovery.

“We know business events contribute significantly to the wider tourism industry and this important investment will have a wide-reaching impact for years to come both socially and economically.”

BESydney CEO, Lyn Lewis-Smith said: “This first-come, first-served funding is much-needed investment to help revive businesses and bring tourism back to our cities. Business events bring locals and visitors alike to our CBDs and support industry suppliers in accommodation, entertainment, hospitality, tourism and business events sectors.”

Applications for round three of Accelerate are open now and close on 20 September 2022.



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