Perth scores world’s largest marine mammal conference

The world’s largest marine mammal conference will converge in Perth in 2023, and it anticipated to inject more than $10 million into the local economy.

Working with a dedicated local organising committee, Business Events Perth delivered the successful bid to bring the 25th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals to Perth in December 2023.

As the largest conference of its kind, it is expected to attract more than 2,000 members of the Society for Marine Mammals (SMM) to Western Australia over eight days, including pre- and post-touring to the regions, generating more than $10 million for the local economy in direct delegate expenditure.

Business Events Perth CEO Gareth Martin said: “This is welcome news for Western Australia and comes at a crucial time for the local business events industry, which has been impacted significantly by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are proud to secure such a high-profile event for the state, and regional Western Australia will also benefit with many delegates dispersing to our regions to experience our marine mammals firsthand.”

Supported by Tourism Australia’s Business Events Bid Fund Program, Business Events Perth proposed an attractive funding package to secure the event.

Federal Minister for Tourism Simon Birmingham said Western Australia’s reputation for its spectacular, unspoilt marine environments made it fitting for Perth to have won the bid to host the significant event.

“This conference will provide a boost to the local economy and give businesses confidence in the road ahead as the industry begins to rebuild from the impacts caused by coronavirus,” Birmingham said.

“Lucrative business events such as these require significant planning, and by securing them now, we are not only looking to the long-term recovery of our tourism industry, but ensuring Australia is kept front of mind for decision makers as a world-class events destination.”

WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said he was delighted to welcome the marine mammal scientific community to the state.

“Western Australia offers some of the world’s most incredible marine experiences, from close encounters with orcas in Bremer Bay, to swimming with humpbacks and whale sharks in Ningaloo, or even meeting blue whales off the coast of Perth,” Papalia said.

“We are delighted to welcome the international scientific community to Perth for the conference and to the various marine hotspots around the state for a firsthand look at our remarkable marine environment.”

WA’s Ningaloo Reef (image source: iStock/RichardALock)

Perth’s bid was led by a team of local academics and experts in the field, and was up against strong competition from China and Singapore.

Daniella Hanf, member of the local organising committee, said: “We are delighted that global SMM members have voted for us to host the Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in 2023.

“This is the first time that the conference will be held in Australia, providing a fantastic opportunity for local groups engaging in marine mammal science, conservation and management to better connect with the international scientific community.

“We are so looking forward to treating our friends and colleagues to some Western Australian hospitality.”

President elect of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, Charles Littnan, said the society was excited to visit WA.

“Our members will be traveling from around the world to share their cutting-edge science at the conference and take advantage of all that Western Australia has to offer,” Littnan said.

Featured image source: iStock/indianoceanimagery