The economic impact of business events confirmed by the Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef team in the 2017-18 financial year has more than doubled to A$111 million.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) general manager Rosie Douglas says securing Amway China has helped boost the value of these events from a A$45 million economic boost the previous year.
'Amway China will bring more than 6,000 delegates to our region in April 2019 and is one of 54 confirmed events last financial year, up from 45 in 2016-17.'
The number of leads was up by nine to 97 which includes 17 from China and reflects the growing interest in the destination following the confirmation of Amway.
Douglas says there is a good spread between state, national and international business which is consistent with previous years and the domestic conference market continues to be strong for the region. These strong results come on the back of solid work by the Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef team and major investment in tourism infrastructure in Cairns.
'Many of the new products coming online are well suited to business events and we have had strong interest in places like Hemingway’s Brewery and the Cairns Aquarium for offsite dinners.
'This month Sunlover Funlover, the Great Barrier Reef’s first dedicated events space has opened, and later this year we will have the first of three new five-star hotels opening in the city as part of the Crystalbrook Collection.'
The next two hotels will open in 2019 and preliminary plans are underway for a A$176 million upgrade of the Cairns Convention Centre.
'TTNQ is working on Indigenous experiences as the third pillar of our destination’s offerings which will give business clients authentic cultural, arts and bush tucker activities to incorporate into events,' say Douglas.
'We are also working on placing a greater emphasis on the food offerings of the region, especially from the rich farmlands of the Atherton Tablelands.
'While this work is underway we are active in-market to raise awareness of new products suitable for business events.
'In the past month 25 members joined me in Guangzhou for a business events training workshop and VIP dinner to showcase the business events offering in our region.
'I also partnered with leading agency CTYS MICE to host 19 of their top corporate clients for a two-day destination showcase where they were educated on the diverse incentive offering in our region.
'Last week business development manager Eleanor Wilkie was joined by Business Events Port Douglas at Convene Q in Brisbane where they met with buyers from across Australia and New Zealand.
'Next week the team and 19 members will give market updates at hosted lunches in Melbourne and Sydney.
'More China trade activity will be undertaken in the next few months starting with the opportunity to present to the top 20 clients of New View in Shenzhen in September.
'The Business Events Australia Greater China Showcase is in November which I will attend and our destination will host a post showcase education programme.
'In October I will head to IMEX America and in November the whole team will be involved in Sell TNQ, followed by Eleanor attending the Pacific Area Incentives and Conferences Expo (PAICE) in Auckland, also in November.
'Business events target the high-value traveller TTNQ wants to attract to our region as part of our strategy to achieve A$3.5 billion in expenditure by 2020.'