“It's both the destination and the journey in Western Australia!”

17th Jul, 2023

Across Western Australia, the business events calendar is vibrant and healthy with multiple examples of winning bids and events up to 2026 and beyond. An opportunity that Business Events Perth (BE Perth) is optimising by working alongside Aboriginal Tourism Operators to activate a shared vision for cultural experiences in business events.

Western Australia provides diverse and unique locations to create a bespoke delegate engagement – the State’s size and climate provides value opportunities at any time of year with meaningful and unforgettable experiences. A numberof clients visiting Australia, particularly from high density cities, seek to experience the vastness and natural beauty that is synonymous with the Australian life. Its capital, Perth, is conveniently located close to Asia and shares the same time zone as a quarter of the world. “From aquatic playgrounds and outback oases to lively urban areas, delegates and planners can tick new experiences off their bucket list,” says Gareth Martin (on the right side photo), Chief Executive Officer of BE Perth. Since the beginning of July 2022, BE Perth has already conducted over 30 client site inspections and 5 familiarisation trips aiming to ensure a mutually beneficial connection between local partners and business event organisers through face-to-face meetings. In the coming months, their business development team will have many more site activations on the agenda, in addition to a mega famil titled re-aWAken − where BE Perth will invite clients from around the world for an immersive programme.

Announced in 2021, the Western Australian Government has also made a significant contribution to supporting business events in Perth and the rest of the region, with an incentive of AUD$15 million within the $185 million Reconnect WA package to safely re-engage with the world.

Last month, BE Perth attended the Asia Pacific Incentives & Meetings Event (AIME) in Melbourne, representing WA alongside 18 WA member venues and suppliers, promoting the states diversity and offering to global decision makers on the international stage. On that note, the WA stand at AIME featured a signature artwork by an Aboriginal artist highlighting the importance of Indigenous Cultural experiences across the state. The artist, Kevin Wilson said: “The design focuses on native flora and fauna, the vibrant colours within our landscapes and nods to our Aboriginal people and communities who have cared for the land for tens of thousands of years.” This activation is part of efforts to support the delivery of the Jina: Western Australia Aboriginal Tourism Action Plan 2021-2025, which was developed by the Western Australian Government to strategically improve the engagement and opportunities for Aboriginal people to secure sustainable economic, social and job outcomes.

Beyond ancient Aboriginal storytelling, the city is also leveraging some trailblazing mediums such as virtual reality to showcase iconic experiences in the region. “In an Australian first, we produced an extensive 3D tour library allowing customers to explore a wide range of venues for their events while their travel was restricted,” says Martin.

The new Business Event Planners Guide has gone completely virtual, expanding its scope to better represent members and offerings across a range of strategic industry partnerships across the state. BE Perth offers generous funding to help maximise delegate numbers and ensure the success of your event, through site inspection funding − covering airfare, accommodation and transport − event support − to develop innovative ways to showcase the destination − and destination sponsorship − to address promotional materials and local expenditure on the ground. A first-of-its-kind funding incentive, keynote speaker funding, has also been introduced, purposefully created to generate long-term strategic leads and support the immediate continuation of business events.

Each year, BE Perth runs a scholarship programme known as the Aspire Awards Program designed to support Western Australian researchers, academics and practitioners through sponsorship of participation in an international business event. “In 2022, we had 11 awards up for grabs, each pertaining to a different major education and research institution in WA. This is a very important programme to recognise and foster the careers of those who are doing amazing research with us.”

Events in WA are much more than networking opportunities and knowledge hubs; they also leverage the uniqueness, expertise and diversity of the destination. Targeting pre- pandemic levels, face-to-face attendance will remain crucial but integrating hybrid models and the use of an “on demand” viewing platform will continue.

At this stage, BE Perth has been exploring a number of local initiatives to start incorporating sustainable outcomes into the BE Perth 2023 Business Plan, which aims to align sustainability agenda, with the impact of delegates travelling to WA and related social outcomes. BE Perth has an in-house sustainability representative to help identify key areas within the organisation, and gaps in the community for sustainable investment. “Economically, funding from our key stakeholders assists us to support the recovery and sustainability of the larger business event industry.” WA has been at the forefront of eliminating single-use plastics by establishing a plan to tackle this issue in two phases: “we are committed to adopting green practices, in turn influencing industry and delegates to be more aware of their impact,” says Martin. Fostering stronger collaboration with industry around data collection and analysis means catalysing growth in the sector and supporting WA’s economic strategy. “Our legacy objectives continue to focus on the visitor experience and key economic sectors, while driving a platform for knowledge exchange and positive social outcomes.”

Lastly, the State Government’s economic framework: Diversify WA, outlines eight key sectors within WA’s expanding economy, and through an increased “Reconnect WA” funding, BE Perth aims to align a business development strategy reflected in conferences aligned to these growth areas. “This has already secured key conferences in sectors of energy, hydrogen, lithium and battery minerals, biotechnology, medical health, agriculture, and even the World Indigenous Tourism Summit all taking place soon,” Martin closes.

Events in the pipeline

  • World Drowning Prevention Conference 2023
  • 15th annual ICEF Australia and New Zealand conference 2023
  • Campylobacter, Helicobacter and Related Organisms Conference 2024
  • World Environmental Education Congress 2024
  • Asia-Pacific Association for International Education Conference and Exhibition 2024

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