Border closure cost Australia 259 international conventions

The closure of international borders since March 2020 has cost Australia 259 international business events, according to the latest research by the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB).

The AACB’s latest Forward Calendar analysis showed these cancelled business events meant Australia has lost the opportunity to host more than 100,000 international delegates and experts in their fields across health, science, education, and business.

From a direct visitor perspective, the loss of more than 700,000 delegate days has removed some $420 million in anticipated revenue from tourism and events businesses.

“It has taken convention bureaux years of positive engagement to position Australia ahead of competing countries to secure these international business events,’ said AACB president Michael Matthews.

“Global rotation of many of these opportunities means we are simply not able to host again in the next year or two, and some may see 5-10 years until regional rotation allows us to contest and bid again.”

The AACB says that recent two-week delay in reopening Australia’s international border in response to the new Omicron variant will impact business events in future years as event organisers look elsewhere.

“The delay to international re-opening, coupled with state and territory lockdowns and restrictions on the domestic business events market over the past 20 months has prevented the industry from earning revenue and operating with consistency, and warrants the need for fair and targeted Federal financial support,” said Matthews.

“As we see states and territories begin re-open, many supply chain businesses will continue to run at a loss well into 2022, as the peak domestic business events season for this year comes to an end. Business survival and the retention of specialist industry skills is a key concern – both of which are critical to deliver on the high demand expected in recovery.”