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Australia at the Forefront of the Business Events Conversation

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if I had to move from Sweden and I could pick anywhere in the world, it would be Australia. Specifically, Adelaide.

I have always loved Adelaide. My Adelaide is a city in fast transformation that is evolving from its automotive manufacturing roots, now full of hi-tech skills as it journeys to become a Knowledge Facilitating Hub. It’s a rookie on the way up, flying under the radar, using the likes of big data and business events as platforms for its success.

The modern term ’business events’ was coined in Australia by Elizabeth Rich, Chief Executive of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA), who retired from her role at the end of June 2011 after leading the organisation for 17 years. Today, ’business events’ is a term used widely by companies and destinations around the world. It remains the quiet overachiever of the Australian tourism industry.

The convention centres in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide are among the best in the world and they are working tightly together as a group, determined to stay at the top. This is the Australian approach to life – mateship – and it transcends the business events industry.

Managed by Tourism Australia’s specialist unit, Business Events Australia, the Business Events Bid Fund Program (BFP) is designed to increase new international business events for Australia through the offer of financial support at the critical bidding stage. The BFP is intended to deliver conversion in situations where Australia is bidding against international competitors for the right to host the business event. And there are more bid funds like it. Just start searching for them.

If the Australian industry maintains the high quality it’s currently delivering across convention centres, convention bureaus and services (like hotels and restaurants), it will thrive. There is a performance philosophy across the country that’s incomparable to any other country I have visited during my 40+ years as a journalist. In my experience, nowhere else in the world has better service than the hotels in Australia. When we arrived at quarter to twelve in the evening to an airport hotel in Sydney with plans to leave again early the next morning, we were met by a friendly smile and warm towels. I have never seen this anywhere else, at a hotel, at nearly midnight.

In any case, our report shows that Australia has a collaborative model and mindset. We have interviewed many of the leading players showing us this mindset. We have sought deep, broad, complex and innovative ideas that continue to develop the world, and thus create many important new business events not only for Australia but also other places in the world. We once again observe how meetings, conferences and congresses are an essential driver for the development of the world. During our stay in Australia, we have learned the importance of associations and their significant work in developing their organisations, members, cities, universities and very often the whole of society.

This business intelligence report is all about knowledge and sharing the knowledge all interviewees contributed. Everyone we talked to both wanted to share their expertise and highlight the power of collaboration.

Swedish-Indonesian Atti Soenarso has worked as a journalist for over 40 years. She has worked for Scandinavias largest daily newspaper, was TV4s first travel editor, has written for many Swedish travel magazines and has had several international clients. She has travelled the length and breadth of the world and written about destinations, people and meetings. Photo by: Magnus Malmberg.