Undertaken in May and June 2023, the research surveyed 402 incentive decision-makers from across 10 of Business Events Australia’s key markets and 160 associations based in North America, the UK and Europe. Ninety per cent of those surveyed said they had run events in the last year, up a huge 32 per cent from the 2022 consumer demand project.
However global uncertainty, ground costs, cost of airfares and the global economic situation were the four most significant influences on organisers’ decisions to host events internationally at the moment.
The focus on cost does not seem to be impacting Australia as a destination choice, with 74 per cent of incentive decision-makers saying they intended to plan an event in Australia in the next year – up one per cent on last year. Thirty-eight per cent of respondents already have an incentive booked in Australia over the next 12 months – up 11 per cent – and 49 per cent are considering Australia for an incentive trip within the next four years, up seven per cent compared to 2022.
On the association front, 79 per cent intend to plan an event in Australia in the next two years – up six per cent – and 28 per cent are considering Australia for an event in the next four years, which is up 13 per cent on intentions a year ago.
Incentive planners ranked Australia as number one in the world for its safety and security, for its business events facilities and as a destination that offers value for money.
The vast majority of both incentive and association planners also said their budgets for international events in the next year were higher than pre-pandemic.
“It’s encouraging to see the international business events sector is in a stronger position compared to 12 months ago, with decision makers feeling increasingly confident in running events internationally,” said Tourism Australia’s general manager of commercial and Business Events Australia, Robin Mack.
“This outlook for the Australian business events industry is positive and echoes the feedback we’re hearing from industry. It is also evidenced through our Business Events Bid Fund Program, which has seen an increase in applications and event conversions across Australia.”
The Business Events Consumer Demand Project also noted that conversion from interest to booking an event in Australia is swayed significantly by first-hand experience of the country, so events like Tourism Australia’s incentive showcase Dreamtime, to be held in Adelaide in November, and the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) in February, which brings buyers from all over the world to Australia, should have an impact on Australian bookings.