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Tourism Australia appoints associations BDM

The Australian Government and key players in the business events sector have appointed a leader to head an initiative to increase the number and size of international association conventions being held in Australia.

Julie Sheather is set head the new joint industry-government initiative and lead the delivery of the targeted associations strategy following its launch earlier this month by Tourism Australia, The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux Inc (AACB) and major convention centres across the country. The association project is a three year $1.8 million joint initiative.

Julie Sheather will lead Tourism Australia, The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux Inc (AACB) and major convention centres across the country in targeting association event business

Co-chair of the initiative and Canberra Convention Bureau Chief Executive Robyn Hendry said her experience as a senior strategic communications specialist and work with a range of industry associations will bring a fresh approach to Australia’s efforts to attract a larger slice of the $12 billion global association events market.

“Julie Sheather’s experience working in and alongside a range of associations will add a new dimension to the way we work to attract associations, strengthen our relationships with those who have been here before and work with Australian-based associations to grow their events,”  Hendry said.

“The members of the Project Committee have been attracting and delivering some of the world’s leading events for decades, and rather than replicate that experience, Julie’s skills in working in and alongside industry associations will enable us to deliver a fresh approach to winning and growing associations business.”

Sheather has over 20 years’ experience in communications and stakeholder relations, working with associations in the finance, health, industrials and agricultural sectors. She has worked within government, held a range of senior roles within major Australian and international corporations and has provided strategic communications and project management services as an external consultant for over 10 years.

Co-chair of the initiative, Joyce DiMascio, head of Business Events Australia said Julie will spearhead the delivery of the strategy to target more associations business for Australia. “This Project represents the first time the Australia Government and industry has come together on this scale to
attract business from this sector. With 50 percent of the funding coming from Tourism Australia and 50% from industry it will be a true partnership designed to build on the foundations established by all the participating partners.

“Tourism Australia has long been advocating the need to have a joined up approach to marketing to maximise the impact and reach of our investment.

“We are delighted that Julie Sheather has been appointed to work on this joint marketing venture. Her appointment is most timely and we are looking to make great strides forward in the way we build on Australia’s already strong reputation for hosting successful international association meetings,” DiMascio said.

Sheather said her first priorities are to identify opportunities for new associations business with a focus on Asia-Pacific, raise global awareness of what Australia offers associations as a destination for major conventions and congresses and to support bureaux and centres in their work to win bids and increase delegate attendance.

“Australia has long punched above its weight in attracting business events and it’s an honour to have the chance to work with the sectors’ leaders in a cooperative venture where the level of commitment from both industry and government is so high,” she said.

“In the face of growing competition from other countries, the joining together of Australia’s 16 leading convention bureaux and centres together with Tourism Australia is a clear statement that Australia is serious about attracting more associations business and making even greater contribution to Australia’s economy.”

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