The strength of the Australian dollar is continuing to send MICE business offshore, with nine out of ten groups preferring to travel overseas to stretch their dollar further, the head of Aim Higher Events has said.
In an expansive interview with The Nibbler last week, Aim Higher Events chief executive Murray Tonkin said the strong Australian economy had prompted a “significant” shift in travelling habits of Australian MICE professionals.
Traditionally happy to travel within Australia, he said clients were now moving their business offshore to take advantage of the favourable exchange rate.
“Two years ago, clients were reluctant to head offshore, now we are finding they are considering it each and every year,” he said.
Labelling the US, New Zealand and Asia as the greatest beneficiaries, Tonkin said 90% of groups now prefer to travel abroad for incentives and conferences.
And with cost and access of airfares likely to continue, he said the trend was likely to continue as long as the economy continues on the same path.
“With the Pacific Basin more open than ever to Australia, 90% of our groups are happy to get on a plane and leave Australia with the dollar at the moment,” he said. “Everyone wants to go overseas while the exchange rate is good.”
However, Tonkin stressed that the trend was driven by China and could take an about turn if China’s economic situation changes.
“We can’t put a time frame on this trend. It’s all a question of when will China turn the corner, and at the end of the day, it has to at some point,” he said.
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