Australia’s Meetings and Events Industry Is Back in Business

Australia’s meetings and events sector has been on a strong path to recovery since the country finally reopened its borders to international visitors earlier this year for the first time since the pandemic began. Events quickly rebounded, and International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) is now reporting that its visitor numbers from March to May were on par with pre-Covid numbers, which is a huge milestone as many events have struggled with low attendance this year.

In the first five months of 2022, ICC Sydney hosted 172 events and 336,000 attendees, and it is on track to return to delivering AU$900 million annually in delegate spending for the city. It is also planning to welcome 64,000 people through eight trade and consumer exhibitions throughout June.

“By securing local, interstate and international events and their respective attendees, the venue plays an important role in the state economy, drawing hundreds of thousands of people each year to our beautiful city, supporting our retail, hospitality and tourism sectors,” said New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet in a statement.

“Using pre-pandemic modelling, the first five months of events in 2022 alone have the potential to deliver AU$170.2M in visitor spend in the local economy while also reinvigorating the knowledge economy benefits that rely on business events,” added ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy.

Meanwhile, Melbourne is experiencing similar surges in demand for events as both the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) and Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) reported positive results from the latest IMEX edition in Frankfurt.

Melbourne is expecting to host 17,600 international delegates through 25 international business events by the end of the year, and MCEC also reports that business has returned to pre-pandemic levels, and that this past May was one of the busiest months in the convention center’s history.

“This was the first [IMEX] gathering in three years, so it provided an exciting opportunity for us to speak to buyers and peers about our business transformation, sustainability and what we’re doing next,” said MCEC Chief Executive Peter King in a statement. “Although we’ve been busier than ever in 2022, we’re always looking at the future needs of our customers and maximising our world class space for visitors to Melbourne.”