Budgets creeping back as associations return to the skies

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Sydney Harbour Opera House and Bridge Sydney Opera House Photo Credit: Caleb Russell on Unsplash

Concerted efforts to promote Australia as a place to hold international conferences - even while its borders remained closed because of Covid-19 - appear to be paying dividends.


Some 75 per cent of associations view Australia as an attractive place to convene their members, according to research by Tourism Australia’s specialist business events unit.


And while Covid-19 is still influencing where associations meet, it has less to do with the threat of catching the disease than the process and cost of dealing with travel requirements.


International associations were feeling markedly more comfortable travelling overseas than a year ago and the number already meeting overseas had risen significantly.


84 per cent of the 159 surveyed in the  2022 Business Events Consumer Demand Project (CDP) were happy to convene abroad (+2%) and 82 per cent have already started (+37%).


The pandemic doesn’t appear to have had a lasting impact on the frequency of meetings with 84 per cent of associations saying they intended to hold the same number as before.


Budgets appeared to be slowing bouncing back, too, with 71 per cent of associations saying they expected an increase for overseas events over the next 12 months (+3%).


However, it was not clear from the research what the impact on number would be, with only 51 per cent saying they expected attendance levels to increase (+6%).


Tourism Australia executive general manager of Commercial and Business Events Australia, Robin Mack, said: “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.”


The research also confirmed a strong performance of the new Business Events Australia brand campaign, recently launched to capitalise on the reopening of the country’s borders.


86 per cent of decision makers in the association sector found the campaign appealing and 80 per cent said the campaign increased their likelihood of holding an association event in Australia.


The research surveyed 159 association decision makers from May to June 2022.

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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