Australia events are on the comeback trail, according to new research by Tourism Australia’s 2022 Business Events Consumer Demand Project.
Australia is once again poised to be a top destination for international meetings, events and incentive programs, according to the 2022 Business Events Consumer Demand Project (CDP), a research project undertaken by Tourism Australia. The findings were heartening to Australia’s business events community, which can expect to see an influx of events over the next two years, said Tourism Australia Executive General Manager of Commercial and Business Events Australia Robin Mack.
In fact, the study found that decision makers are feeling increasingly confident with traveling and running events abroad, and many are expecting the number, size and budget for events to be equal to, or greater than pre-pandemic levels.
Eighty-eight percent of incentive decision makers said they plan to hold at least as many international events as they did pre-COVID, while 84% of association planners said the same. More than half of both sectors said they expect to draw more attendees per event than they did pre-COVID. More than two-thirds said they have larger budgets for both incentives and association events in the next 12 months.
“Throughout the pandemic we have worked hard to maintain Australia’s presence internationally and optimally position Australia as a business events destination for reopening. The research confirms our strategy to invest in marketing during the pandemic has worked and we anticipate Australia’s business events industry will benefit as a result,” Mack said. The research surveyed 159 association decision makers from three of Australia’s key markets and 399 corporate decision makers from nine key markets from May to June 2022.
Associations that have prior experience meeting in Australia say that experience is a key factor in giving them a positive perception of the country as a meeting destination. Other factors both segments cited as important were the country’s reputation for safety and security, its appealing climate, the range of quality accommodation options, and the cleanliness and quality of Australia’s cities and roads. Among the Aussie assets associations find particularly appealing are the quality of the country’s business events facilities, the study found.
The study also found that the global pandemic has changed the landscape for both incentive and association planners. However, the impact has shifted from concerns about attendees catching COVID to the impact the pandemic has had on the process (testing, insurance and visa processing) and costs of international travel. Among the other top factors influencing decision making for overseas events for both incentive and association planners are lingering COVID-related restrictions on the number of attendees who can attend an event and the safety reputation of the event destination. In fact, for those who have not yet restarted their plans for overseas events, COVID-related restrictions are the key deciding factors for both sectors.
Part of the resurgence in interest may be due to a new Business Events Australia brand campaign, which 90% of incentive planners said increased their likelihood of holding an incentive event in Australia. Eighty percent of association decision makers agreed that it spurred their interest in bringing a convention Down Under.