The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) says the timing of the recently announced $12 million Tourism Australia Business Events Bid Fund could not have come at a better time with the number of business events won for Australia in decline.

The AACB yesterday released its latest edition of the Forward Calendar of International Business Events, containing an analysis of bids won, lost and bids in the pipeline by AACB’s members for the years ahead (from January 2018).

AACB CEO, Andrew Hiebl, says new data shows a decline in the number of international business events secured for Australia into the future (361 down from 396 six months ago).

A total of 304 international business events were lost, translating to $1billion in delegate expenditure that will now be spent in other countries.

“The timing of the recent bid fund announcement is important. Only a decade ago, Australia was consistently among the top 10 most popular countries to host major international association conventions (International Congress and Convention Association’s country rankings). In 2016, our ranking dropped to 16th in the world,” Mr Hiebl said.

“We are confident that the decline in our international positioning can be reversed with this increased investment from the Australian Government, helping Australia secure more international business events. There are currently 236 international business events in the pipeline, with potentially half a billion dollars in expenditure to be won.”

The number of delegates and associated total delegate spend expected from business secured has seen an increase, showing the strategic efforts of convention bureaux to attract more high-yielding business events to Australia. The top three industries attracted by the number of events include Health Care and Social Assistance (33.5%), Professional, Scientific and Social Assistance (18.3%), and Financial and Insurance Services (6.9%).