Peak Business Events Body Sounds Alarm Bells

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15th February 2010, 05:03pm - Views: 1688

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February 15, 2010

Peak Business Events Body Sounds Alarm

Bells for Lucrative Tourism Industry Sector 

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) today called for an immediate injection

of $20 million in Federal funding to arrest an alarming decline in the number of conference,

exhibitions and incentives visitors coming to Australia.

BECA Chairman Geoff Donaghy said an immediate tax incentive was also needed to

boost the domestic market and employer training in such a way that Australian companies

would be encouraged to hold their business events at home rather than abroad.

“Latest ABS figures show that visitor arrivals for business events fell by an alarming 23 per

cent in 2009 over 2008, with convention numbers faring worse than overall tourism visitor

numbers,” Mr Donaghy said.

“This continues a disturbing picture that has been growing. Australia has slipped from

fourth in 2000 to 14 last year in the International Congress and Convention Association’s

world rankings for international conferences.”

Mr Donaghy said BECA’s call for an immediate injection of $20 million had been submitted

to Canberra in a pre-Budget request seeking a:

$10 million Business Events Bid Fund

to assist organisations bidding to host 

international business events in Australia,

$5 million International Delegate Boosting Fund

to help boost attendance at

business events already scheduled, and

$5 million Branding and Marketing Fund to enable Tourism Australia to launch a

strong overseas campaign to restore Australia’s profile as one of the world’s top 10

business events destinations.

Mr Donaghy welcomed the $1 million bought forward from Tourism Australia’s 2010-11

business events budget for immediate delegate boosting, but said much more is needed.

“The move provides some current help, but leaves next year’s budget in jeopardy.  



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“An immediate R&D-type tax incentive offering deductions of 120 per cent is also needed

to encourage Australian companies to spend more on employee training, foster face-to-

face information learning networks and stage their business events in Australia rather than


Mr Donaghy said conference, exhibitions and other business events attracted high net

worth visitors who often travelled with family or a friend and

spent five times more on a

daily basis than tourists visiting for leisure.

“Major international congresses and exhibitions not only attract thousands of overseas

delegates, they also showcase Australian innovation and creativity and forge relations that

are crucial to our ongoing industry and trade development.”

But this lucrative market was fiercely competitive and Australia had been losing market

share at an alarming rate. 

“Our Asian competitors in particular have seen the true value of business events travel and

are outpowering us in marketing dollars,” he added.


“For example Singapore responded to the GFC by announcing a $90m tourism ‘boost’

fund aimed largely at building its business events sector.” 

Note editors:  A photograph and colour graphs of latest ABS and ICCA data are available


Media information:

Geoff Donaghy

        BECA Chairman 

      07 3331 5000 or 0419 169 252

Elizabeth Rich 

        BECA CEO 


      0414 969 140

Libby Moffet/Bill Gray   MG Media Communications     02 9904 0011


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