April 12, 2022 | By Graeme Kemlo

Acting like a convention bureau for all regional areas of the state, Business Events Victoria (BEV) came away from the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) with both confirmed events business and the serious prospect of hosting an incentive program for two of the biggest technology names in the world.

Executive officer of BEV Chris Porter said the tech giants told him “we’ve done capital cities” and they were interested in distraction-free regional destinations and high-end experiences.

Porter said BEV members who attended AIME were not only keen to get face-to-face with buyers but were buoyed by catching up with other members of the business events industry.

“There was a lot of interest in regional Victoria, particularly in events towards the later part of this year,” he said, adding that the quality of buyers was great.

“One of our members, a large regional winery, walked off the show floor with two pieces of business, saying, ‘that’s never happened at AIME before’.”

Not only was there pent-up demand from domestic and national buyers, but AIME also represented the first time international buyers had been able to access Australia for almost two years and the event attracted delegates from the northern hemisphere as well as Asia.

Porter said he met with an international meeting planner from the UK representing two global technology companies looking for something different in high-end incentive for 200 employees and partners for two weeks in 2023.

Porter said acting as a bureau for all the experiences across the regions, he was able to suggest exciting options from the Great Ocean Road and Twelve Apostles to houseboats on the Murray or Mungo Man out of Mildura, and put forward a diverse range of food, wine and unique activities in between. Of particular interest was the relative proximity of a range of quite different incentive experiences, the dedicated regional facilities and quality service providers.

“They were also impressed by the way we all work together to facilitate events. We are already in the next stage of discussions with this client…it may not have happened without AIME,” Porter said.

Victoria has 11 designated regions, all of which are well-serviced by transport options that include regional airports, helicopters, railway networks, or luxury coaches.  Some, such as the Great Ocean Road, are popular self-drive experiences whether behind the wheel of a sports car or nestled in the sidecar of a rumbling peloton of Harley-Davidsons.