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EEAA welcomes Labor’s recognition of business events in tourism policy

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has welcomed today’s launch of Labor’s plans for Tourism that includes a commitment to business events.

The EEAA commended the recognition that the business events sector plays a critical role in the Australian economy but was disappointed that no additional funding would be provided for Tourism Australia’s work in bidding for new events for Australia, despite the success of the Bid Fund launched in 2018.

The Bill Shorten and Labor Tourism Policy 2019 included specific initiatives for the business events sector and, importantly, an overarching statement that recognises the critical role business events play in driving the Australian economy by attracting visitors, driving regional dispersal, supporting employment and unlocking international trade opportunities.

Joyce DiMascio, EEAA Chief Executive, said this was a major breakthrough for the advocacy work undertaken by the business events community. However, it would have been more valuable if the programs for event procurement and marketing were supported with extra funding.

The areas of support identified in the policy document are:

A consistent methodology that measures the economic value of international and domestic visitors at business eventsAn audit and map of the infrastructure ne of business events industry to identify gaps and priorities, including in regional AustraliaContinued support of the Bid Fund Program administered by Tourism AustraliaNorthern Australia Tourism Infrastructure Fund worth $1 billion dollars to boost and attract investment in new and upgraded infrastructure will be accessible to event-based facilities – stadiums and convention centres

The Association welcomed the focus on infrastructure and restoring tourism’s standing as a key economic portfolio.

Under the plan, the tourism portfolio will sit within a new department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Cities and Tourism.

The other important area of focus is on education and training and in projecting Australia’s skill requirements through the establishment of an independent Australian Skills Authority.

“For the business events sector and the visitor economy to flourish, it is critical that the industry and Government collaborate in the area of skills and we are pleased that under Labor there is a major focus on this area,” DiMascio said.

“The Association applauds Labor for acknowledging the Power of Business Events to ignite the Australian economy.

“We will continue to advocate for our industry and work closely with the party or parties that form Government after this Saturday’s election to ensure that more investment is made in attracting and leveraging business events,” DiMascio added.

The Liberal Party has also undertaken to support the Bid Fund and we welcome this. Its policy was launched on 3 May.