The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) welcomed yesterday’s announcement by the Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, and thanked Tourism Australia for its continued commitment to the Business Events industry with the extension of the Bid Fund Program by $3m for an additional 12 months through 2021/22. The Bid Fund Program is designed to increase the conversion of bids for new international business events by offering financial support at the critical bidding stage.
BECA notes the valuable contribution this extension makes towards the long-term attraction of business events to Australia. We will continue to engage with Government to encourage a permanent and boosted multi-year package in addition to Tourism Australia’s annual appropriation, to give convention bureaux, convention centres, event organisers and their clients much needed certainty as global competitiveness for business events increases.
While the long-term prospects for the industry are improving, the short-term needs and challenges being faced by the business events sector continue to be critical. With the Business Events Grant Program focused on supporting those who were attending business events already booked rather than de-risking the environment so more business event owners could plan, book and hold more events, the industry is in dire need of bridging support that will sustain businesses up and down the business events supply chain, event professionals and valuable expertise until business returns to a more robust level across the nation.
BECA continues to advocate for short-term recovery initiatives including:
- Catalyst funding directed to event owners and/or a Government underwritten facility that mitigates against COVID-19 risks in the absence of event insurance.
- A temporary Fringe Benefits Tax Exemption for Australian businesses undertaking corporate travel incentive programs.
- An Education & Training Tax Incentive for businesses to train staff, with increased tax deductibility, to stimulate the domestic business events market.
Dr Vanessa Findlay, Chair of BECA, commented:
“Tourism Australia’s continued commitment to the recovery of the business events sector both in the short and long-term is greatly valued. The very nature of business events and the time that is required to plan, market, implement and deliver events, means the approach to the industry’s recovery needs to be handled differently to other sectors or industries. Given the operating environment the industry is working in, without immediate support from the Government, we are now at serious risk of losing valuable organisations and event professionals.
“BECA has presented short-term initiatives for the Government’s consideration to assist in the forthcoming critical 6-12 month period as well as look at more long term rebound strategies. It is vital this industry be sustained to ensure it can once again deliver on the significant economic and social contribution business events make to our country.”
Quotes attributable to BECA Members:
Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB)
Michael Matthews, President of AACB said, “AACB appreciates Tourism Australia’s commitment to again allocating resources and backing the recovery of our sector through a further $3m and 12-month extension of the Bid Fund Program, offering co-investment with convention bureaux and industry to attract international business events to Australia over the longer-term. The additional $1m Business Events Boost Program will also provide much needed short-term funds for our members to undertake key marketing and distribution activities aimed at influencing and building confidence in the domestic market.”
Australian Convention Centres Group (ACCG)
Geoff Donaghy, BECA Deputy Chair and representative for ACCG said, “The announcement by the Minister regarding Tourism Australia’s additional commitment to demand driving initiatives is a welcomed investment for our sector. The extension of the bid fund program will provide further certainty for our international clients and a boost to securing significant business events for Australia in future years.
“Instilling confidence in our clients to activate their conference and events tentatively planned for the next 12 months is our immediate challenge. The country’s convention centres along with all the businesses in our respective supply chains face the challenges of maintaining workforces after a year with minimal to no revenue. With few events actually taking place over the next 6 months, direct and effective support for the business events supply chain remains our greatest need.”
Meetings & Events Australia (MEA)
Nigel Collin, Chair of MEA said, “MEA appreciates Tourism Australia’s ongoing commitment to our industry with the extension of the Bid Fund and Business Events Boost Program as well as the pipeline of future business these programs will attract and contribute towards the recovery of our industry. We will continue to tackle the immediate and ongoing challenges our members face to sustain their businesses and retain our talented professionals. We still face a tough time ahead but are committed to doing all that is possible to attract support and build a strong future for us all.”
Professional Conference Organisers Association (PCOA)
Barry Neame, President of PCOA said, “PCOA members welcome Tourism Australia’s decision to extend the Business Events Boost Program and the Bid Fund. It’s valued investment in our sector for future years. Facing the challenges of maintaining their workforce after a year without conferences, the end of JobKeeper and loss of associated concessions such as rent relief, and with minimal events actually taking place over the next 6 months, conference organisers will appreciate any direct and effective support for the business events supply.”
Exhibition & Event Association of Australia (EEAA)
Claudia Sagripanti, Chief Executive of EEAA said, “EEAA welcomes Tourism Australia’s continued support recognising the important role of business events to Australia’s economic, cultural and professional development. The market research program has been particularly useful in understanding demand drivers, and we look forward to working with TA on the sector’s short and longer term recovery.”
This article was featured in:
- Micenet: Industry bodies applaud continuation of international events subvention funding but warn of need for immediate support, 19 April 2021