Introduction

Good evening everyone.

I’d also like to extend my thanks to the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia for inviting me here tonight.

In particular, I’d like to thank President Spiro Anemogiannis, CEO Joyce DiMascio, as well as all the Board members here tonight.

I’d like to acknowledge my colleague from New South Wales, Minister Adam Marshall.

I’d also like to acknowledge Pier One Sydney Harbour, the wonderful venue this event is being held in tonight.

Value of EEAA

It’s great to be here with you all on the third Global Exhibitions Day 2018, particularly as Australia is the first country to celebrate this year.

Global Exhibitions Day is a great way to highlight and celebrate the contribution of exhibitions to diverse sectors of the economy, to business growth and to national prosperity.

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australia has done an excellent job of spearheading Australia’s involvement in this global campaign, as well as raising the profile of the exhibitions and events sector across the board.

This was acknowledged last year when the Association was awarded the inaugural Global Exhibitions Day Industry Impact Award.

The Association’s advocacy, promotional activity, and work in skills development has been crucial to the ongoing success of the industry, and I encourage you, as members of the Association, to continue to use your collective voice to support the further expansion of the business events sector.

Value of business events

Ladies and gentlemen, business events are extremely important to Australia’s economy.

Last year, there were over a million international business events visitors to Australia, and these visitors spent $4.75 billion in Australia.

This is a phenomenal amount and, if international business events visitors were a country, they would be Australia’s second largest market after China, in terms of visitor expenditure.

We also know that international business events visitors are high yielding, spending on average twice as much as leisure travellers during their trips here.

The impact of business events on both the industry and wider economy is far reaching, with these visitors often extending their visit to regional parts of Australia and likely to return for a holiday in the future.

The business events industry is also responsible for creating significant employment opportunities across Australia.

Exhibitions and events are an important subset of the business events sector. Members of the Association host more than 500 events each year, providing a platform for 24,000 businesses to showcase their products and services to more than 1.6 million visitors.

Australian government support for the industry

The Australian Government highly values the economic contribution to Australia made by the business events industry.

Business events plays a key role in driving trade and investment opportunities, facilitating small business growth, showcasing Australia’s expertise and knowledge to global audiences, attracting skilled migrants and nurturing innovation and competitiveness.

With the fast growth of economies across Asia and recovering markets in the US and the UK, we believe there is potential to significantly increase business event visitation and spend over the next decade.

However, there are some challenges to growing the industry, skills shortages being one.

The Australian Government continues to work with industry to find solutions to the forecast labour shortages.

Last year we announced the introduction of the Temporary Skill Shortage visa and from 1 July 2018, the new Global Talent Visa will also be available.

These visas enable employers to address labour shortages by bringing in genuinely skilled overseas workers where they cannot source an appropriately skilled Australian to fill the vacancy. 

I encourage anyone with concerns or feedback about either of these products to get in touch with the Department of Jobs and Small Business.

Growing the business events industry is a priority for the Government, and we know Australia is operating in a very competitive global environment when trying to attract business events.

This is why we established the Boosting Business Events Bid Fund Program, which commits $12 million over three years to increase the conversion of international business events for Australia in an increasingly crowded international marketplace, by offering financial support at the critical bidding stage for these events.

Managed by Tourism Australia’s dedicated business events unit, Business Events Australia, the Program builds upon their extensive existing activities in the business events space to increase awareness and demand for Australia as a business events destination.

It offers support to new international business events including exhibitions, corporate incentive trips, association conferences and congresses.

The funds will also only cover on the ground costs associated with the delivery of an event, ensuring every dollar goes back into the Australian economy through visitor economy products such as accommodation, transport and venue hire.

The Bid Fund complements Tourism Australia’s existing Advance Program, which provides support for delegate acquisition activities for previously confirmed international business events taking place in Australia, in order to drive international visitation to Australia.

Applications are open now for both the Bid Fund and the Advance Program. I strongly urge you all to contact Tourism Australia to see how you can access these programs and use them to your advantage.

Conclusion

Ladies and Gentlemen, in conclusion let me reinforce the Australian Government’s commitment to supporting the exhibitions and events sector in Australia, and thank you once again for the opportunity to be a part of this dinner.

I trust you will all enjoy the rest of the evening and find the second day conference valuable and interesting.

Thank you for your time.

Media enquiries

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