Tourism Australia will have a significant presence at AIBTM in Baltimore, helping to continue the momentum of growth in US business event visitors to Australia.
Eleven partners will join Tourism Australia to showcase Australia’s energy, enthusiasm and options for business meetings, incentive travel, conferences and events.
The presence at AIBTM this year follows strong results for Australia in 2010, which saw total business event arrivals increase by 19 per cent. Convention and conference arrivals from the US increased 23 per cent in 2010 and arrivals from Canada increased by 21 per cent. For the first four months of 2011, arrivals to Australia out of the US grew nine per cent while Canada posted a four per cent rise.
Australia’s favourability as a meetings destination saw the country move up five places in the ICCA rankings for 2010, after hosting 239 international meetings for the year.
These positive results are expected to continue as a result of improved air access and upgrades to infrastructure on the ground. Last month, Qantas commenced a new direct service from Dallas meaning more Americans can arrive in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane within the same time it takes to get to Europe.
Aviation capacity to Australia is expected to increase from the US with V Australia, Jetstar and Qantas exploring new agreements.
Launched last month, the Virgin Australia group of airlines now encompasses both its domestic and international operations. The group will be looking to expand on its current daily flights from Los Angeles to Sydney, four times a week to Brisbane and three times per week to Melbourne.
On the ground, Australia’s commitment to delivering world class events is evident through the number of infrastructure developments and upgrades.
In Sydney, more than AUD$7 billion has been invested into the industry including an expansion to the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, a major upgrade of Star City Casino and a new harbour side development called Barangaroo.
In Queensland, an AUD$40 million expansion of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre is due to open later this year. The centre will provide 19 new meeting rooms and two additional speaker preparation centres, two dedicated conference floors, a 400 seat tiered theatre auditorium and a 600 seat tiered theatre auditorium.
In Melbourne, the six star green star rated Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is set to expand its award winning exhibition facilities, while in Adelaide, the Adelaide Convention Centre has announced an AU$350 million expansion project.