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May 9, 2016
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A New Gold: The Transformative Outcomes of Business Events




At IMEX Frankfurt 2016, government officials from New South Wales (NSW), Australia (and the United Arab Emirates) revealed the role of business events for developing an international profile, collaboration, and job creation across key sectors such as healthcare, education, med-tech, age and disability care. 

imex-ayres-draft3 from Fred Productions Ltd. on Vimeo.

An increasing number of representatives from trade and investment attended the IMEX Politicians Forum.

“Business events are about trade and about facilitating connections and collaborations between global cities, bringing great ideas to a central point so that we can start to look at ways we can collaborate and co-operate with other key leaders in their sectors,” said Duncan Challen, executive director - international trade and investment - Department of Premier and Cabinet (NSW Government).

Delegates from over 40 countries were left reflecting on revelations that congresses such as the International Congress on Obesity are stimulating investments in multi-disciplinary research institutions such as the Charles Perkins Centre, which opened in Sydney in 2014 as a direct result of the event being held in the state capital in 2006. The centre, which researches cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes, now employs over 900 people, many of whom have been attracted to the city as a result of attending healthcare events in Sydney. 

“To government, that's gold”, claimed Business Events Sydney Chief Executive Lyn Lewis-Smith, when she addressed the Forum

Lewis-Smith, who pioneered the deployment of academic research to identify the economic and social legacies of business events beyond tourism was supported in her assessment of the contributions that business events make to economic diversification and social transformation by Dubai Business Events Chief Steen Jakobsen, who also spoke at the Forum

Sydney used IMEX Frankfurt to reveal communications delivered through the prism of its thought leaders, including Professor Mary O'Kane, chief scientist and engineer, New South Wales, who keynoted at the IMEX Politicians Forum last year. And NSW Minister of Trade, Tourism, and Events, Stuart Ayres - this year's keynote - concluded that business events form a critical path to growth, especially within Asia-Pac – the fastest growing region of the world. 

Ayres finished to popular applause by stating that governments should agree to convention bureau targets but then set the organisation free from unnecessary regulation, red tape, or “an onerous view of the world” in the belief that bureaus are best positioned to respond to fast-moving global trends within the sectors that they have built networks and ambassador programs within. His counterparts in Western Australia must have been listening as they announced, just this week, that they are reversing their decision to cut back on convention bureau funding.

Within resource-led economies such as Perth, Western Australia and Dubai, UAE - elected or not - governments are aggressively seeking the outcomes and legacies of business events [beyond tourism] and their contribution to a knowledge and creative society. What makes Sydney shine is that it is enacting a medium- to long-term investment and marketing strategy within a democratic framework – something it could only achieve over multiple administrations because in 2010 the convention bureau created a research-based movement which illustrated the value of business events towards a diversified services economy and which subsequently stimulated the new infrastructure investments which IMR reported upon just last week

Next week: Sydney's Changing Landscape – Robert Coren reports in the first of a 6-part video series as viewers join Business Events Sydney’s International Advisory Board (IAB), including Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC)'s Rod Cameron and Professional Convention Managers Association (PCMA)'s Sherrif Karamat, who share their views on the newest experiences that Sydney has to offer, including the new International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), insight into the value of strong government and industry collaboration, and the city's rich cultural and entertainment offerings.


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About the Author: James Latham

James Latham


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