The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) held an inaugural Business Leaders’ Dinner within its 30th annual conference, Destination Business Events, in Melbourne earlier this month. The pinnacle dinner event attracted 40 of the business events industry’s most influential leaders from across the country to meet with guest of honour, Senator the Hon Jonathon Duniam, Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism.
The event titled Growing Business Events and the case for Regional Dispersal, proudly sponsored by Ernst & Young, allowed the opportunity to highlight the importance of business events to Australia and regional destinations.
Assistant Minister Duniam said, “This was a great opportunity to better understand the benefit that the business events industry brings to my portfolios of Regional Tourism as well as Forestry and Fisheries.
“I thank the AACB for professionally coordinating this leadership dinner and allowing me to engage with this very important industry.”
Matt Colston, Associate Partner at Ernst & Young (Sports, Events and Venue Advisory - Transaction Advisory Services), provided an overview of the ’Value of Business Events to Australia’, which was followed by a facilitated discussion, led by Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO at BESydney.
The discussion identified barriers to growth including regional infrastructure, access and connectivity, the need for visa reform (fees and charges), and labour and skills challenges.
AACB President, Michael Matthews said, “The business events industry is greatly appreciative of the Government’s introduction of a bid fund for Australia and recent amendments announced to the program, making it more accessible to Regional Australia.
“It supports a positive strategy of improving our international competitiveness. Through its success, attracting more business events will drive high yield visitation to regional Australia and generate jobs across the tourism and events sector.
“As such, more robust and consistent measurement of the business events industry, including the economic benefit that it provides to Australia, is required as a priority. We stand collectively as an industry to co-invest with the Government to address this issue.”