The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) welcomes the move by Federal Government to protect Tourism Australia from tough budget cuts. Contrary to the recent Commission of Audit Report Recommendation 33(a) to halve funding for Tourism Australia, the Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP has confirmed an increase for Tourism Australia in the 2014 Federal Budget.
Executive Director of AACB, Andrew Hiebl says, “Any cuts to Tourism Australia’s funding would have certainly reduced our capacity to attract international business events in what is already a highly competitive market. Australia’s convention bureaux recognise their collective responsibility to promote Australia as a premier international business events destination. To achieve this in a seamless and united approach, they rely on their partnership with Tourism Australia to promote to traditional markets in Europe and North America, as well as emerging markets in Asia.”
“Furthermore, a strong Tourism Australia is essential to reach the Tourism 2020 target set for business events of $16 billion in total overnight expenditure - noting that currently 17% of all international visitors to Australia and 21% of all international visitor expenditure is derived from delegates attending some form of business event (Tourism Research Australia 2013).”
According to Minister Robb, tourism has been identified as one of five National Investment Priorities as part of the Government’s Economic Action Strategy to build a strong and prosperous economy.
AACB President, Lyn Lewis-Smith says, “This shows real leadership and an understanding of the benefits that the visitor economy generates. International delegates attracted by convention bureaux are Australia’s highest yielding visitor based on per day expenditure. Overnight expenditure by international delegates in 2012 was valued by Tourism Research Australia at $2.7 billion, in new money to the country.”
“In addition to the direct expenditure generated by international business events, the sector drives economic growth for the nation by stimulating trade, encouraging foreign investment, fostering innovation, transferring knowledge, attracting global talent and promoting cultural exchange. Most importantly, business events showcase Australia as a great place to do business on a global stage.”
AACB also commends the Government on the 2014 Federal Budget in the following areas:
While the 2014 Federal Budget is a positive one for business events in tough circumstances, we do note in the Response to the Commission of Audit Report by the Treasurer and Minister for Finance that the window is still open on Recommendation 33, as they relate to Tourism Australia funding and the EMDG scheme, following the 2014/15 Budget. AACB strongly urges Government to reject this recommendation.