John O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Tourism Australia, joined the team in March 2014, coming from a professional background spanning across three key fields — sport, media, and events. During his first time at IMEX in Frankfurt this week, he sat down with Boardroom to talk about Australia’s competitive edge.
How do you position Australia in the world?
It really comes down to three key areas: our natural beauty, our food and wine, and our cosmopolitan cities. There’s no question that this is a great product to be able to market and sell internationally because we have, in abundance, the things that international visitors are looking for. As far business events are concerned, with Australia’s track record in delivering them and our winning combination of unique natural landscapes and friendly welcoming people we are clearly on the radar as the ideal business events destination.
Earlier this year, you’ve launched the Business Events Bid Fund Program (BFP). Has it garnered a lot of interest from planners already?
We have received a positive reaction from the international business events industry who agree the Bid Fund Program will ensure that Australia maintains a competitive edge against other international destinations. We have actually already got five applications in the two weeks since launching on 1 May. The BFP is designed to secure, among other events, new, high-value international association, meetings for Australia, and now adds financial support to the offering, making Australia even more attractive.
Are you seeing an increased awareness of Australia as a congress destination among international associations?
The recent win of the UITP Global Public Transport Summit to be held in Melbourne in 2021 – a four-day event that will see 2,000 delegates from all over the world meet converge to Australia and deliver $9.4 million in economic contribution for Victoria – says it all. Australia as whole and Melbourne in particular have a global reputation for collaboration with federal, local and state governments, as well as city-wide partners working together to successfully secure and deliver conferences. Our Tourism 2020 strategy is definitley yielding fruit : we are an ambitious organisation. and we are delighted when yet another important business event recognizes this.
This interview was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve (firstname.lastname@example.org)