The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) welcomes the additional $36.7 million over the forward estimates for Tourism Australia's international marketing activities. This increase ensures international marketing dollars keep pace with exchange rate fluctuations and maintains overseas purchasing power.
"Safeguarding funding for international marketing is paramount," said AACB Executive Director Andrew Hiebl. "One of our primary policy objectives is to ensure funding security for Tourism Australia and its Business Events Australia division. This budget helps convention bureaux, partnering with Tourism Australia, to continue international marketing efforts and ensure future growth in the sector."
However, there is concern with new visa fee increases and the negative impact it could have on the industry. Any increase in border fees and charges, especially within the growth markets of Asia, creates a barrier that challenges corporate incentive bids and delegate boosting campaigns.
Hiebl continued, "Business event delegates from Asia offer a huge opportunity to Australia. As identified by Deloitte Access Economics (2014), 30% of international business event delegates to Australia are from an Asian country and the growth prospects are greater than any other market. Higher border fees and charges for Australia provide key advantages to our competitors and diminish our ability to achieve Australia's Tourism 2020 targets.
As such, the Federal Government's commitment to freezing the passenger movement charge is welcome.
The 2015 Budget provides further opportunities for the business events sector to leverage, including:
· A small business tax cut and accelerated depreciation policy that will provide a boost for a majority of business event operators, ultimately resulting in an improved delegate experience across the country.
· A continued focus on the trade and investment priority sectors of agribusiness and food, resources and energy, major infrastructure, tourism infrastructure and advanced services, manufacturing and technology, allows the business events industry to serve as an important driver for these areas.
· $26.2 million to establish permanent border clearance services at Townsville and Sunshine Coast airports will stimulate visitation of international delegates to these regional business event destinations.
· $400 million for the commencement of the Medical Research Future Fund over the next four years will act as a beacon to attract international business events to Australia.
Hiebl went on to add, "The 2015 Budget builds on the historic free trade agreements signed last year, however, there is still a lot of progress to be made before Government understands how to maximise international business events to their full potential. Business events play a significant role in building a stronger, more productive and diverse Australian economy and can be used as strategic tools for attracting trade, investment and global talent"
The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux is the peak Australian Business Events network driving economic prosperity for Australia. The Association brings together 15 city and regional bureaux dedicated to marketing their specific region as premier Business Events destinations to intrastate, interstate and international markets. AACB and its members represent more than 1600 industry operators across the business events spectrum.