Forward calendars spell good news for Australian business events: AACB

Australian business events are expected to contribute $1.2 billion to the economy over the next seven years, according to the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB).

Before the arrival of the devastating Australian bushfires season and the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, AACB members had secured 368 international business events for Australia.

These events are expected to bring some 400,000 delegates to our shores and contribute more than $1 billion to the economy over the next seven years. A further 270 international bids in the pipeline could bring an additional $700 million in delegate spend.

In this respect, once nations have overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, the future is bright for the MICE industry, according to AACB.

“AACB acknowledges that the recovery will be staged, but as restrictions are lifted, there is a long pipeline of meetings and events from 2021 onwards that members have secured and will continue to work on both domestically and internationally,” the association’s chief executive, Andrew Hiebl, said.

In 2020, before social distancing restrictions and border closures shuttered the industry, convention bureau success was set to see 145,000 delegates gathering in Australia across 183 international business events, which estimated over $420 million to the visitor economy.

Similarly, convention bureaux secured almost 400 domestic business events for their respective destinations for the year, with an expected attendance of 170,000 delegates.

The AACB noted that convention bureaux are working closely with their clients to ensure that these business events continue to be held in Australia.

According to the association, post-COVID-19 pandemic, the positive impact of business events will drive jobs across the tourism and events supply chain and help aid the recovery of key industries beyond the visitor economy including health care, social assistance, scientific and technical services.

These industries account for 55 per cent of scheduled international events and over 45 per cent of international events in the pipeline, the AACB said.

The latest research commissioned by the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) shows that business events directly contribute $35.7 billion to the Australian economy and employs 229,000 people.

However, with the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has at present seen to the cancellation of events across the board, Australia’s events industry is facing losses of $2.5 billion per month.

BECA estimates the local economy could lose $35.7 billion in direct expenditure, and a further $17.2 billion in direct value, over the next 12 months.

To sustain and grow the business events industry, the AACB is supporting a BECA-led coordinated approach, engaging with government to develop a COVID-19 Business Events Response and Recovery Framework, to enable the industry to hibernate during the crisis.

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