Business Events Week 2014 opened on Monday with the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) releasing the findings of new research, which reveals the value of international conferences to the economy has significantly increased.
The Melbourne Convention Delegate Study 2013, now in its fourth edition, was commissioned to examine the conference delegate experience in Melbourne and the economic value driven from their attendance to the state’s economy.
The Study covers the period May to December 2013 and contains data gathered from 3,846 surveys completed by delegates from 150 countries, attending five major international conferences in Melbourne.
MCB’s Chief Executive Officer, Karen Bolinger, said the Melbourne Convention Delegate Study 2013 concluded that international conference delegates are now spending over twice as much as a typical international leisure tourist.
“Delegates are spending more than $1019 a day on accommodation, dining out, domestic air travel and recreational activities in Melbourne, representing a 28% increase from the 2010 Study,” Ms Bolinger said.
“Much of this spend is going straight into Victoria’s small to medium businesses and delivering business into the tourism sector in traditionally off peak periods.
“The spending habits of international conference delegates make business events one of the highest yielding sectors in Australia’s visitor economy.”
The study also revealed that the majority of international delegates (71%) were first time visitors to the country and half (50%) would not have visited Australia in the next three years had they not been attending a conference in Melbourne.
Additional findings concluded:
• 49% of all international delegates came from Asia, an 11% increase from the 2010 Study
• Over half of all delegates (national and international- 56%) indicated they visited regional Victoria and/or other parts of Australia pre or post conference. representing a 26% increase from the 2010 Study
• Over a quarter of all international delegates (28%) were accompanied on their trip to Melbourne, with the average number of accompanying persons standing a t 2.8 per delegate
“Visitors coming to Melbourne with delegates are husbands or wives, partners, family or friends who have no association with the conference,” Ms Bolinger explained.
“They are instead out exploring Melbourne, dining in our restaurants and bars and visiting our attractions.”
Ms Bolinger also said that the content or program of the event was the most Important factor in the decision to attend a conference in Melbourne.
In addition, international delegates perceived the key benefits of attending the conference to be obtaining information that would enhance their personal and business performance (69%) and exposing themselves to new knowledge f or educational purposes (63%)
“This research reveals that business events are critical in furthering developments in scientific and medical research, as w ell as fuelling ongoing growth for the state’s economy.
“This alone presents a very strong business case to local and state government and other stakeholders to continue to support the industry.” Ms Bolinger concluded.
Business Events Week, an MCB initiative, is a week-long program of activities showcasing the value of business events to Australia- from generating economic wealth and export opportunities, through to driving tourism creating lasting legacies for the business community and job creation.
Professor Ian Chubb AC, Chief Scientist for Australia, is the official Ambassador for Business Events Week 2014.