Australia’s big business events comeback

AUSTRALIA has plenty of appeal as a business events destination, with the latest research from Tourism Australia reflecting the industry’s promising recovery. The DMO’s 2023 Business Events Consumer Demand Project (CDP), an annual survey which looks at the factors influencing association and incentive decision makers when choosing an event destination, reveals that on a global scale, the industry is in a stronger position than it was 12 months ago.

Sentiment was positive among the 160 associations in North America, UK and Europe and 402 corporate decision makers from the incentive sector across 10 of Australia’s key markets that were surveyed between May and June, with 90% having run events in the last year – a notable increase of 32% compared to 2022.

Tourism Australia Executive General Manager of Commercial and Business Events Australia, Robin Mack, said, “it’s encouraging to see the international business events sector is in a stronger position compared to 12 months ago, with decision makers feeling increasingly confident in running events internationally”.

The CDP shows that Australia is the leading incentive destination among decision makers, with increases in appeal and intent over the last year. A massive 90% see the country as an appealing destination for an incentive event (up 4%), while 74% intend to plan an incentive trip to Australia in the next six to 12 months (up 1%). A further 41% are considering venturing Down Under for an incentive trip in the next four years (up 7%) while 38% (up 11%) already have an incentive trip booked here.

In fact, incentive decision makers ranked Australia as number one across 22 attributes, including excellent business facilities, value for money, and safety and security. When it comes to the country’s appeal as an association destination, 28% are contemplating hosting an association event in the next four years (up 13% from last year), while 16% currently have one locked in (up 9%).

The data demonstrates a growing interest in learning about and engaging with Australia’s Indigenous cultures, with nearly four in five association decision makers drawn to incorporating an Indigenous experience, and 85% recognising the appeal of an Indigenous-guided wildlife, art or culinary experience in a program itinerary.

“With the outlook for the association sector looking positive, there is an opportunity for Australia to capitalise on this sentiment and drive conversion through increasing familiarity of Australia’s offering,” Mack said, pointing out that 90% of decision makers plan to retain or increase their overseas event budget compared to pre-COVID times, despite global uncertainty and the cost of airfares.

“This outlook for the Australian business events industry is positive and echoes the feedback we’re hearing from industry. It is also evidenced through our Business Events Bid Fund Program, which has seen an increase in applications and event conversions across Australia,” he concluded.

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