New infrastructure not enough: expert

New infrastructure not enough: expert
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Australia must invest further in infrastructure and overcome its “complacency” with Asia if it is to capitalise on the potential of the MICE sector, an industry expert has warned.

Speaking at the Tourism and Transport Leadership Summit last week, Peter Pecotic from the Singaporean event firm Turning Point Solutions, highlighted the importance of conferencing infrastructure, noting that Australia was falling behind many Asian destinations.

While the new facilities at Barangaroo were “great news”, he said they were not enough to meet growing demand and to compete with other Asian destinations.

“Infrastructure is Australia’s greatest limitation,” he told The Nibbler after the event. “Having one large capacity venue in each destination doesn’t really cut it when many Asian cities now have a number of convention and exhibition centres, and many integrated resorts with the capacity for conventions.”

Using Singapore as an example, he said the destination’s willingness to add conferencing capacity in response to growing demand had allowed it to double its annual intake of tourists. Australia, meanwhile, was missing out because of its reluctance to invest and embrace the rise of Asia, he said.

“Whenever I come back to Australia, I notice an amazing sense of complacency, unfamiliarity and slight discomfort in the economic shift towards our neighbours,” he said. “Australia needs more infrastructure and a repositioning of its brand and offering to really engage in the economic opportunities.”

Pecotic said the Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment (SICEEP) development would help to address capacity issues, but conceded it would not provide the answer.

“This is a great and welcome development, but instead of a series of large scale events coming to one venue, could we not be more like Singapore or Shanghai and have concurrent events across multiple facilities,” he concluded.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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