ICYMI: Top stories for March in BEN

Ambassadors honoured

AFTER winning 12 major international conferences worth an estimated $62.5 million to Victoria, 16 Club Melbourne Ambassadors were presented with awards last month in recognition of their efforts.

Almost 12,000 international delegates will spend a combined 46,000 days in Melbourne for these conferences and attend events such as the 1st Malaria World Congress in 2018, secured by Prof Alan Cowman and Prof Brendan Crabb.

MCEC chief executive Peter King said the ambassadors volunteered a great deal of their time to lure these events to Melbourne.

“They are also working with us to foster and curate some remarkable inaugural events across all industries,” he said

Established by the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in 2005, the program has 119 Ambassadors who have delivered 120 conferences, worth more than $685 million to the state.

MICE foreign policy

The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) has mounted a campaign to make business events a foreign policy matter.

The AABC released details of a presentation it made last month to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which included recommendations for a $10 million bid fund for attracting conventions and exhibitions of national significance, and a free online visa scheme for delegates.

It has also proposed a travel bursary to bring academics, scientists and business leaders from the Asia-Pacific region to conventions in Australia.

“Business events are a crucial part of the Australian Government’s foreign policy strategy,” AACB ceo Andrew Hiebl said.

Events worth $30b to Aus

The business events industry contributed $30.2b in direct expenditure in 2015/16, up from $28b in 2013/14, a report released by the Business Events Council of Australia (BCEA) has found.

It also said business events supported Australia’s GDP with a total economic contribution of $24.9 billion, compared to $23.1 billion in the previous period.

Matthew Hingerty, chairman of BECA, said the Ernst & Young study demonstrated why governments and industry should continue to invest in the sector, with growth in local (2.7%) and national (13%) delegates.