Trends in business events and what they mean for your local visitor economy

Business events provide the highest yield of any tourism segment and are estimated to generate up to six times the average expenditure of leisure travel visitors.

Deloitte Access Economics describes business events as “a high-value, fast-growing component of the visitor economy”.

  • One in five dollars spent by international visitors in Australia is spent by an international delegate attending a business event.

  • International delegates spend 21% more than other international visitors over the course of their trip and 77% more per day.

Business events also amplify economic activity well beyond directly measurable metrics, strengthening knowledge creation and exchange, innovation, investment and other positive impacts.

Business events are strategic tools for attracting trade, investment and global talent.

Governments are investing in the business events sector because they recognise both their short-term and the long-term benefits, according to the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux's International Business Events Forward Calendar.  

For example, the Northern Territory has a bold new tourism support plan where NT business events planners or organisations that stage a business event can apply for financial help of $100 per delegate, up to a maximum of $50,000 per event from the Business Events Support Fund which is new this year. This means the NT will be able to compete with their international neighbours for major business and conference events, great news for Darwin in particular which may be able to extend its high season. NT Tourism Minister Moss says that securing just one additional 500 delegate business event for the NT will deliver more than $2 million in incremental visitor spend. Read more

Business Events Sunshine Coast and Sunshine Coast Council are now offering a Business Events Assistance Program to attract conferences, meetings and exhibitions which raise the profile of the region as a destination for business events and attract national and international business events which align with the Regional Economic Development Strategy and its high-value industries. 


Regional destinations offer a point of difference for event organisers who are tired of the same experiences in capital cities.

The NSW state government recently launched the NSW Regional Conferencing Strategy and Action Plan and the establishment of a Regional Conferencing Unit within Destination NSW as a response to a decrease in the number of visitor nights generated for regional NSW by business events and regional NSW’s market share of the eastern seaboard (NSW, Victoria and Queensland). Regional Queensland has also lost market share.

The Regional Conferencing Unit will support regional NSW in targeting opportunities, identifying capability and undertaking promotional activities to grow business events. NSW Government funding will support the program, assisted by co-operative investment from industry.

Read the NSW regional conference strategy


What is the effect of business visitors on your regional visitor economy? 
Is your destination management organisation ignoring business visitors in their focus on leisure visitors?

Cristy HoughtonComment