The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA), 11 February, welcomed the new minister for trade, tourism and investment Dan Tehan’s confirmation of the Government's commitment to the event industry and, in particular, the rolling out of its Business Events Grants Programme. “We encourage all business events businesses, whether owners, delegates or exhibitors to engage with the programme to ensure we can get the maximum revenue flowing through the entire supply chain as soon as possible,” the BECA statement read.
BECA was responding to a government media release that noted one of Australia’s premier convention destinations, Gold Coast, was now open for business and that the Morrison Government was supporting local events through the A$50m (US$38.6m) programme.
Pre-Covid, the Gold Coast’s business events sector contributed A$570m to the economy, attracting event attendees from all over Australia and the world. Australia’s business events industry is worth A$36bn to the Australian economy and supports around 230,000 Australian jobs.
The Government also announced it was launching a new domestic advertising campaign to support the business events sector by encouraging event planners and decision-makers to host an event in Australia this year.
Member for Moncrieff, Angie Bell said the Business Events Grants Programme was helping to reinvigorate the Gold Coast business events market, with 22 Gold Coast events in 2021 already listed as ‘approved business events’. Event attendees, she noted, could apply for a grant through the Government’s programme to help cover out-of-pocket costs.
“The people who attend business events on the Gold Coast also book hotel rooms, they eat at restaurants, buy coffees, visit shops and stay to enjoy our tourist attractions, so this support is greatly welcome,” Bell said.
“I strongly urge all business event organisers to have their next convention on the beautiful Gold Coast at one of our world-class facilities and to apply to be an approved business event. I also encourage Australian businesses to send their staff to these in person events with the help of the Morrison Government’s A$50m support package.”
Minister Tehan (pictured) said Australia’s strong economic and health response to Covid-19 meant the domestic business events market was well-placed to rebound. He added that more than 190 business events were already on the programme’s approved list.
“We want a pipeline of business events across Australia in 2021 to build momentum and generate jobs and opportunities in urban and regional centres. This programme adds an incentive for businesses to invest in the professional development, networking and travel opportunities available through attending a business event,” the minister said.
BECA chair Dr Vanessa Findlay said the grants programme initiative created motivation for businesses to get back to in-person business events.
The Hire and Rental Industry Association’s (HRIA) annual industry event will be held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre this year and is one of the approved events under the Government’s programme.
HRIA CEO James Oxenham said: “Each year, more than 1,500 delegates attend our flagship event. This year,more than ever, our members are looking forward to connecting, and meeting together in person, not only for the convention and exhibition, but also the networking opportunities and social events that make the convention such a success year after year. With the convention finishing on a Thursday, many also plan a long weekend, which should also be a great boost to the Gold Coast economy.”
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is hosting the Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference and Trade Exhibition 2021 (APP2021) event also at the Gold Coast Convention Centre in May, and its attendees are also set to benefit from the $50m grants programme.
APP Conference Convenor Kos Sclavos AM hailed the programme as “a great initiative by the Federal Government to encourage more delegates and exhibitors to attend conferences in 2021. “Our event is the largest pharmacy trade expo in Australia and the grant funding provides the opportunity for even more businesses in our industry to take part. Without events such as APP, businesses would not have the opportunity to meet with existing and new target audiences in this important, face to face setting.”
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre general manager Adrienne Readings said: “Business events make up on one of the highest yielding sectors in our visitor economy and the Gold Coast is a major contributor, attracting nearly 50% of all conferences, meetings, incentives and exhibitions held in Queensland.”
Eligible Australian businesses participating or exhibiting at an approved business event in 2021 can now apply for upfront grants to cover up to 50% of their costs (A$10,000 – A$250,000). More information: https://www.business.gov.au/grants-and-programs/business-events-grants.
For information on the ‘Event Here This Year’ campaign, visit: https://businessevents.australia.com/en.