The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) has announced the Gold Coast has been selected to host its 31st World Congress in 2021.
The congress will bring together around 800 mental health professionals, academics, crisis workers, teachers and suicide survivors from around the world.
Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said it was the first time the global congress would convene on the Gold Coast.
“Securing this event is a testament to the capabilities of the city to deliver world-class, large-scale business events in the heart of Australia’s playground,” she said.
“It also highlights the appeal of Gold Coast’s growing health and innovation sector.
“The distinctive winning mix of conference infrastructure, delegate experiences, service and our climate, continue to entice prominent business events to the region.
“It’s encouraging to see more associations and multi-disciplinary medical and health conferences, choosing to align with the Gold Coast and its burgeoning reputation as Australia’s progressive hub for medicine, health and innovation.”
IASP is dedicated to preventing suicidal behaviour and alleviating its effect through a network of professionals and volunteers from over 80 countries.
Announcing the decision to meet on the Gold Coast, Professor Jane Pirkis, a psychologist and epidemiologist based at the University of Melbourne in Australia and one of IASP’s vice presidents, said the congress is an important forum to examine advances in suicide prevention, research and support.
“This congress will discuss evidence-based research, best practice and suicide prevention measures, bringing together networks to share knowledge and skills,” she said.
The congress returns to Australia for the first time since 1997, with the organisation citing the appeal of the Gold Coast to international delegates as a major drawcard in the decision.
“The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre is the perfect fit for our event, and the compact nature of the city means our delegates can experience so much of the Australian lifestyle, within walking distance of the venue,” Pirkis said.
“As a host city, the Gold Coast bid offered an intimate and holistic approach to accommodating our congress, which is highly valued by our organisation.”
“The bid was a collaborative effort, with strong local support from Griffith University, Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP), as well as the backing of Tourism and Events Queensland, Destination Gold Coast and Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.”
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones welcomed the announcement.
“The Gold Coast has stamped its event hosting abilities on the world through the Commonwealth Games, and securing international events such as these demonstrates the confidence around the globe in this destination,” she said.
“The beauty of the Gold Coast as a business event host is that delegates can extend their stay or enjoy iconic tourism experiences in between conference commitments.
“The Queensland government, through Tourism and Events Queensland’s Business Events Acquisition and Leveraging Fund, is proud to support such events because they drive significant economic benefit for the state and in this case, address vital issues that affect society.”
The congress will be held from 21 to 24 September 2021 at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.