The shift of booked international business events from 2020 into 2021, is providing an inaccurate impression of a healthy pandemic recovery for the Australian meetings industry, according to figures compiled by Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) from its members.
Events that were due to take place in 2020 have either cancelled or shifted into next year and beyond, creating an artificially inflated 2021 pipeline of business for Australia. Furthermore, of the 373 international events won by AACB members, 105 were cancelled (a quarter of which may be permanently lost by becoming virtual) or postponed with no revised event date.
Over and above the future challenges created by the pandemic, Australia has its work cut out to fill up international business events order books from 2022 onwards. Rival destinations have become more competitive in recent years, and international bidding teams will need to be well resourced and on top of their games, to sell Australia as the destination of choice for business events clients in a post pandemic world.
AACB CEO, Andrew Hiebl said, “The global pandemic has shut down Australia’s business events industry for 2020 and significantly disrupted the forward pipeline.”
“Ongoing long-term investment will therefore be essential to attract international conventions and exhibitions as part of Australia’s economic recovery plan, not only to support the visitor economy, but the recovery of our key industries.”
The AACB is advocating for a permanent extension and boost of the Business Events Bid Fund, in addition to Tourism Australia’s annual appropriation, which is due to finish at the end of this financial year.