An Ernst & Young (EY) report commissioned by the Business Events Council of Australia released today has shown that business events generated $28 billion in direct expenditure, $13.5 billion in direct value added and $23.1 billion in total economic contribution in the last financial year. The report further reinforces the importance of business events to the Australian economy and makes a clear case for investing in attracting events like these to our shores.
Chief Executive of the peak national industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF), Margy Osmond, has welcomed the report saying “TTF has long recognised the benefit of business events to our economy. It is pleasing to see this report has confirmed that so emphatically.
“With the benefit of such events so clear, we call on the State and Federal governments to follow the lead of the Baird government in NSW and invest in attracting business events to Australia.
“The EY report showed that the share of delegates travelling from overseas to attend Australian events has increased three-fold. To that end, we should also be looking at ways to make it easier for business visitors to come to Australia.
“Our current visa application process means Chinese visitors must fill in a paper form, pay $130, apply in person with documentary evidence and wait over a week for approval. By contrast, visitors from Hong Kong can apply for a visa online, pay $20 and receive almost immediate approval. If we are to remain competitive in this space we must see urgent visa reform.
“Australia’s competitors are already looking to steal the march. New Zealand has recently introduced a new visa framework for Chinese business visitors, processing them faster and with fewer requirements for documents. Australia risks falling behind if we don’t get serious about visa reform.
“Business event visitors come from the high end of the market and the money that they spend is spread across a range of sectors – on accommodation, restaurants, entertainment, shopping and transport. Importantly, the benefit also extends to regional areas.
“Business events are a sound investment. They support jobs, encourage visitation and contribute significantly to the economy. Furthermore, they will play a crucial role in helping Australia to reach its Tourism 2020 targets.”