Australia is building a reputation as the incentive destination of choice for business events groups from North Asia, with the number of incentive bookings on the rise, particularly for large delegations from China.

The latest Tourism 2020 progress report for the business events sector reveals Australia welcomed 893,000 international business event delegates for the year ending September 2013, with a total expenditure of $13 billion. Chinese delegates represented nine per cent of visitation and 11 per cent of expenditure.

Tourism Australia managing director, John O’Sullivan, said the combination of high quality business facilities, excellent food and wine, a clean natural environment, and capacity to deliver world-class programs for incentive groups of any size, were contributing factors to Australia’s appeal in China.

“This year Australia will play host to some of the largest Chinese incentive events, from industries including health, pharmaceutical and insurance. This includes Pro-Health China (Baojian), which will see more than 6000 delegates gather in Sydney for a five-day conference and contribute an estimated $22.5 million in economic impact to the state of New South Wales alone,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“There are indications that the positive upward trend we’ve seen in incentive bookings from China looks set to continue with a number of significant group incentive bookings confirmed for Australia throughout 2014 and 2015.

Further business events groups from North Asia expected throughout the year include Metlife Insurance (June), Shaklee (June) and Shin Kwong Life Insurance Taiwan (September).

Last year Australia played host to two major incentives, with Sydney hosting 3000 Perfect China delegates and  the Gold Coast hosting 1000 delegates from Herbalife China, with programs that featured a combination of business meetings, food and wine experiences, and wildlife encounters.

In recognition of the important role China plays as a partner supporting Australia’s tourism industry, the Australian Government is increasing flexibility and ease of travel for Chinese business visitors through its visa system. China is the first country that the Australian Government has allowed three-year multiple entry visa for business visitors.

“Australia is continually investing in its business events and incentive offering to suit the needs of our customers in the region, especially for our customers in China. This includes working closely too with our airline partners in China to consolidate services and in providing more high value travelling opportunities for the market,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

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