Attract more Asian delegates

Australia’s proximity to, and expertise in, the Asian market are telling factors in securing more international association meetings for the country.

Coupled with local expertise in areas including medicine, science, agribusiness, biotechnology, mining, and information and communication technology (with many academics and professionals sitting on international boards in various disciplines) Australia’s proximity to Asia is a clear factor in the country’s growing popularity in the association meetings sector.

Direct air access from major Asian hubs and significantly reduced travelling times (compared to travel from Asia to European and Northern American ports) results in reduced costs for delegates from China, India and South East Asia – strong target markets for many international associations.

Daily services from China, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and India to major Australian cities has the potential to secure more delegates at Australian-based international association meetings, meaning more revenue for the association, and potentially a stronger, truly international association.

As leading professional conference organiser, Bryan Holliday, of ICMS Australasia explains, there has been a clear increase in the number of delegates from Asia attending association meetings in Australia in recent years.

“We put this down to the growth in the number of people who are entering the middle class in Asia which means that travel generally and attending conferences in particular is becoming far more affordable,” he says.

“We also believe that the quality of Australian speakers at our meetings means that delegates don’t have to travel all the way to Europe or North America to hear and see the best people from their industry or profession.”

These observations, along with Australia’s close proximity to Asia, its friendly multicultural people, political stability, and safety, has seen the country rise in popularity for hosting international events, according to the International Congress & Convention Association.

And, in anticipation of further growth, Australia’s major cities are readying for additional international association business with upgrades and expansions of its dedicated convention centres. Facilities in Adelaide (South Australia) and Brisbane (Queensland) have or are presently undergoing expansion; while the International Convention Centre Sydney – the centrepiece of the A$1 billion convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct at Darling Harbour in Sydney – will be the largest venue in the country at completion.

Other convention and exhibition centres around the country are located in the likes of Alice Springs, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth. All offer state-of-the-art facilities, within walking distance of accommodation options ranging from exclusive five-star hotels to budget accommodation, ensuring all levels of association delegate are catered for. The majority of Australian convention centres operate in precincts with excellent transport links.

Combined with Australia’s western style, Asian influences, environmental conservatism, and 17 natural attractions currently on the World Heritage List including the Great Barrier Reef, the Tasmanian Wilderness, and national parks like Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta in the Northern Territory, the country offers the perfect blend of culture and experiences for delegates from all corners of the globe.

Natural attractions are complemented by unique Australian experiences such as climbing the harbour bridge in Sydney, observing the daily penguin parade at Phillip Island on the outskirts of Melbourne, or learning about Australia’s Indigenous ancestors at Uluru in the Northern Territory.

Research conducted by Tourism Australia shows that Australia’s world-class beauty and natural environment is the biggest motivator for many Asian markets to travel to the country. Additionally, particularly exciting to many Asian delegates is the opportunity to hold koalas and feed kangaroos. Australia’s landscapes and wildlife are available around the country and can be found within, or less than one hour from main city centres.

Australia really does offer a total package for the international association meeting sector, clearly demonstrating that There’s nothing like Australia for business events.