23 Apr 2015

Support up for events Down Under

[Source: TTGmice by Paige Lee Pei Qi]

Australian business event players expect better outcomes from event bids now that the national government has committed to stronger support for the sector, writes Paige Lee Pei Qi

Australia is not empowered to better pitch and bid for events on the global stage following a new government initiative which was launched late-2014 to assist the business events sector in this aspect.

The new framework - Attracting Business Events to Australia: Role of Government Agencies - is a strategic collaboration between the Federal Government, through Austrade and Tourism Australia, and Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACVB) as well as the business events sector.

Through this arrangement, Austrade will coordinate will coordinate ministerial support for an event and organises onshore and offshore promotion while Tourism Australia will partner with industry players to provide marketing and promotional materials.

Andrew Hiebl, executive director of AACVB, said: "The government has recognised the economic and strategic importance of international business events and the direct benefit they provide to the Australian economy.

"With this new initiative, (government) support will be provided where there are clear economic benefits linked to the international business event that align wiht Australia's trade, education and investment priority sectors.

"For example Austrade can coordinate a ministerial letter of support for inclusion in the event bid pack (and) advocate on behalf of an event in markets where a trade commissioner is co-located with the event organising committee."

This initiative also indicates that the AACVB will now serve as the first point of contact for event organisers - and the broader business events sector - who are seeking Austrade and Tourism Australia support.

AACVB president, Lyn Lewis-Smith, commented: "Government support as part of a compelling business case can sometimes make or break a bid. Increasingly, clients are looking for what we call "whole-of-city" engagement. This means support form business, government and community.

"Working with the Australian government to continue this approach is a natural progression, and it sends a very clear message to the industry that we are serious about business events and we want to create meaningful outcomes for our clients and our country."

Highlighting how Sydney has been working with the New South Wales government for the past few years, Lewis-Smith who is also CEO of Business Events Sydeny (BeSydney), said: "We are seeing the success of this strategy. The professional services sector is one of the state's priority sectors, and we can see a clear alignment with this sector in the upcoming secured events."

Lewis-Smith added that in 2017 and 2018, Sydney will welcome the world's largest finance event, Sibos, as well as the World Congress of Accountants, International Bar Association, AIPPI World Intellectual Property Congress, International Association of Restructuring Insolvency Bankruptcy Professionals (INSOL) World Quadrennial Congress and the International Council of Commercial Arbitration Congress.

The new framework has been met with much enthusiasm from the ground.

Illana Den, Director, CC: Your Australian DMC, said: “Any assistance from government departments and agencies lends credulity to the bidding and event delivery process in Australia. It also conveys the message to our international partners that Australia is serious about bringing business events to the country and that all parties are involved in helping to bring the programmes to Australia.”

Sarah Corcoran, head of marketing with event specialist MCI Australia, told TTGmice: "This seamless access to state and federal ministerial support can only strengthen the opportunity to win the already competitive bid (in Australia). This has been the missing piece of the puzzle... and now our chances of winning international bids are magnified greatly."

She added: "Government financial support and access to ministerial support (in Australia) have been limited and (inconsistent). This initiative definitely strengthens the business case for attracting key opinion leaders to commit to bidding for international events. (It also) places Australia in a competitive position with other countries where government support has been a key component of the decision -making process."

According to Arpita Bhose, senior account manager at Kenes Asia, the new framework brings another important benefit to the table: it will help to address clients' perception of Australia being a pricey destination.

"Australia is perceived as expensive... (and it also) more expensive than many other countries in Asia. (With the additional support), it will become much easier (for organisers like us) when choosing a location, as we can see what incentives are on offer across the country," said Bhose, who has organised events in Melbourne and Brisbane in recent years.


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