Exhibition Industry thriving in Australia

Exhibitions, also known as trade shows, expos or even passion events, are a subset of the business event industry. Nationally, business events are known to be important drivers of the national economy, contributing to trade and investment outcomes, innovation, jobs creation and visitation.

Their value goes well beyond the industry sector of the event – for small and big business. These events play a pivotal role in Australia’s economic prosperity, including boosting the visitor economy through domestic and international visitation (such as transport, hotels, retail and restaurants), facilitating small business growth by connecting buyers and sellers, knowledge sharing leading to innovation and business collaboration (both locally and globally) and providing a platform for international trade and investment.

The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) estimates that the exhibition industry stages around 31,000 exhibitions around the world each year – that’s an average of about 85 every day of the year. This equates to around: 124 million sqm of total net exhibition space rented; 4 million exhibiting companies and approximately 260 million visitors; USD55 billion in total value and 680,000 full-time equivalent jobs

In 2015, EY released The Value of Business Events to Australia – a study produced for the Business Events Council of Australia with the support of the Australia Government.

It found that in 2013-14, over 37 million people attended more than 412,000 business events in Australia. These business events directly generated: $28 billion in direct expenditure; $13.5 billion in direct value added; 179,357 direct jobs; $23.5 billion total economic contribution (GDP).

The same report found the following about exhibitions in Australia: There were 2,157 exhibitions staged in Australia, attracting 9.3 million visitors and over 65,000 exhibitors.

– Exhibition visitors spent $2.3 billion in Australia
– Exhibitors spent $643 million in Australia
– Exhibition organisers spent $137 million in Australia, generating $88 million in value add
– Total direct expenditure from exhibitions was $3.1 billion, contributing a direct value add of $1.5 billion and generating over 21,000 jobs
– 41% of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre revenue is generated by exhibitions

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has rounded out its fifth consecutive record high financial year, placing the venue in prime position for the opening of its new expansion space in mid-2018.

Total operating revenue of $80.1 million and almost $1 billion in economic impact was recorded, affirming Australia’s top business events destination is stronger than ever.

These results are attributed to the 1,026 events staged at MCEC in 2016/17, including 75 national and
international conventions and 77 exhibitions that drew more than 867,705 registered business event delegates to the venue.

Concert and entertainment events saw the greatest growth, increasing by more than 50 per cent on financial year 2015/16 due to a popularity rise in MCEC’s Plenary as its own stand-alone concert venue.

In total, more than two million visitors have passed through MCEC’s doors during the last 12 months in
conjunction with business event delegates, due to the diversity of events the venue hosts and its integration with the South Wharf precinct and wider Melbourne community.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events, The Hon. John Eren MP said it was great to see MCEC continuing to thrive, with the results reaffirming the Victorian State Government’s investment to expand the venue.

“The visitor economy is one of our greatest strengths, and MCEC plays a vital role in driving economic growth and creating jobs in Victoria. “It’s terrific to see the venue continuing to succeed and they should be congratulated on these impressive results.

“MCEC will be able to host even more events and attract more people through their doors once our expansion is complete,” Mr Eren said. Despite increased competition both nationally and internationally, and an operating construction site, the venue has maintained a full events calendar and business as usual approach to achieve a high customer satisfaction rating of 85 per cent and a $3.1 million increase in revenue.

MCEC’s Chief Executive, Peter King attributed the professionalism, maturity and capability within MCEC for achieving this impressive financial growth. “Our focus has been on our customers and ensuring we can continue to deliver, innovate and adapt to meet their current needs, whilst having the foresight to help them plan for their future events too.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) was was recently named Australasia’s Leading Meetings and Conference Centre for the sixth consecutive year at the prestigious World Travel Awards in China.

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) also recently recognised Melbourne as the number one city in Australia for delegate attendance, ranking the city 43 places ahead of its closest Australian competitor, Sydney.

“Melbourne is always high on the list of locations for big conferences worldwide, because we do them so well. Our city has a gift for hosting business events, thanks to our great mix of infrastructure and culture. “With our current venue expansion quickly progressing and a number of exciting developments in the works, we are confident we will be able to maintain our leading position for many years to come,” Mr King added.

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