June 24, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) and Tourism Australia have emerged from a special jointly hosted roundtable with industry stakeholders with a clear set of principles to inform the Reimaging the Visitor Economy strategy for Tourism 2030 and a $50 billion target for the business events industry by the end of the decade.

BECA’s Deputy Chair, Geoff Donaghy told micenet the roundtable, held recently at ICC Sydney, had been an excellent process and there was strong endorsement of BECA as the peak body.

“BECA’s work continues unabated on charting the course for the future of the business events industry in Australia,” he said.

He said the partnership with Tourism Australia was very strong and there was endorsement of the BECA Recovery and Rebound Framework, as the vehicle to deliver this message, which will now include an industry vision to 2030.

Donaghy and other BECA members have said that the work by departing Chair, Dr Vanessa Findlay had provided a solid policy framework which would also be refreshed ahead of the next Federal election campaign.  He also said that expanding BECA’s membership and adding resources was also an important priority.

At the workshop Industry leaders confirmed the next steps would be:

  • Advocate to Government for a clear re-opening roadmap for business events;
  • Review and refresh the BECA Recovery and Rebound Framework for united industry advocacy including a vision to 2030, to be shared with the Reimagining the Visitor Economy Expert Panel
  • Undertake industry consultation for consolidating business events representation and increasing resourcing for the peak body to promote consistent messaging

Representatives from Tourism Australia, Business Events Australia, Austrade and the expert panel overseeing the Federal Government’s Reimaging the Visitor Economy strategy for Tourism 2030 were in attendance to assist in ensuring the outcomes of the session are incorporated into the final report.

Tourism Australia’s Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison continues her strong support for the business events sector. In opening the workshop, she said she welcomed the opportunity to support the business events sector in bringing together key stakeholders from across the industry to discuss what’s next in these uncertain times.

In both the short-term and long-term discussions, there was consensus amongst industry leaders about the importance of a strong and united voice to governments and the need for greater peak body resourcing that will ensure consistent and impactful advocacy.

Key short to medium-term objectives of the sector to enable recovery and future growth are to:

  1. Build confidence to meet by promoting what’s possible, increasing certainty for planning, and reducing financial risk
  2. Address immediate workforce shortages and skills gaps
  3. Secure government support for attracting and fulfilling the potential of business events

Over the longer term, priorities identified were:

  1. Setting an ambitious $50 billion target for 2030, including the contribution of business events to Australia’s broader economic and industry development goals
  2. Building a future-ready workforce
  3. Developing growth strategies in partnership with Government to 2030, underpinned by data and backed by budgetary commitment

Seventy-five industry leaders and senior executives both in person and virtually, due to COVID restrictions impacting travel from Victoria, attended the roundtable. Attendees from the BECA network represented Australia’s convention bureaux, convention centres, organisers, meetings, exhibition, and events communities as well as other influential leaders from the business events industry.