The Australian Association of Convention Bureaux (AACB) is urging the government to recognise the role business events play in international diplomacy in Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper.
Recommendations put forth to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade by the AACB include:
- Establishing a national convention bid fund of up to $10 million per year to increase Australia’s competitiveness in bringing conventions and exhibitions of national significance to the country.
- A fee-free online Electronic Travel Authority visa scheme for attendees of major business events.
- To enact a travel bursary to bring academics, scientists and business leaders from the Indo Pacific to international conventions held in Australia
Commenting on the proposal, AACB’s chief executive officer Andrew Heibl said the business events segment in the tourism industry could help build on the Government’s economic diplomacy agenda with the assistance of targeted policy measures.
“Australia’s share of the international association’s meetings market has declined to two per cent, ranked behind 14 other countries while the global market has increased by 5 per cent – we need to reverse this trend,” Heibl said.
“Beyond the obvious economic contribution to our tourism industry, business events play an important role in connecting global industry leaders which accelerates innovation through the exchange of information and ideas.”