Brisbane: A City on the Rise

3rd June 2023

Brisbane is quickly becoming one of Australia's top destinations for conferences and meetings, with a growing reputation for its world-class facilities, stunning natural beauty, and friendly locals. This bustling city is set to take center stage on the global stage in the coming years, with the announcement that it will host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Words Remi Deve

The decision to award Brisbane the games is a major coup for the city, and one that will undoubtedly help to put it on the map as a premier destination for conferences and meetings of all kinds and sizes. The event is expected to attract thousands of visitors from around the world, and will be a showcase for Brisbane’s capabilities when it comes to hosting large-scale events.

Knowledge & Innovation

In fact, Brisbane is a city with a wealth of knowledge and innovation and it rightfully attracts conferences that are aligned with its key industries, including health, tourism, property and construction, logistics, advanced manufacturing, and business services.

With over 100 health and biotech facilities, Brisbane is for instance a hub for medical research and innovation, contributing $16.1 billion per annum to the city’s economy and supporting more than 116,000 jobs. The city’s tourism industry has also global destination appeal, with the potential to grow the visitor economy by $6.5 billion per annum by 2031.

Brisbane’s $19 billion infrastructure pipeline and unprecedented population growth are driving the city’s fast-growing PropTech, green building technology, and material innovation ecosystem.

As the closest eastern seaboard capital city to Australia’s largest export markets, Brisbane is also perfectly positioned to thrive as a logistics centre, with the highest aviation capacity in Australia and the largest capital city port.

Brisbane has a strong network of research and development institutions, a highly skilled workforce, and high levels of collaboration between businesses, researchers, and all levels of government, making it a hub for advanced manufacturing, including hyper-personalized medicine, robotic automation, food and agricultural technology, sports technology, and green building material innovation.

The city’s business services industries are also on the rise, with finance and insurance jobs growing at double the major capital cities’ average over the last five years.

Regarding meetings

When it comes to meetings, the city is already home to a number of world-class conference venues, including the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, which is the largest convention centre in Australia. This state-of-the-art facility is located in the heart of the city, and boasts a range of flexible event spaces, including a 4,000-seat plenary hall, 44 meeting rooms, and a grand ballroom that can accommodate up to 1,500 guests.

Other popular conference venues in Brisbane include the Royal International Convention Centre, which is located on the grounds of the iconic Brisbane Showgrounds, and boasts a range of flexible event spaces, including a 5,000-seat auditorium and a 20,000-square-meter exhibition hall. The city is also home to a number of boutique conference venues, such as the Brisbane Powerhouse, which is a converted power station that now serves as a cultural center and event space.

Brisbane’s growing reputation as a top destination for conferences and events is reflected in the number of high-profile international association conferences that are set to take place in the city in the coming years. One such event is the 2023 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), which is expected to attract more than 3,000 delegates from around the world, or the 2024 International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA), which will be held at the Royal International Convention Centre with more than 1,000 delegates.

Other upcoming conferences in Brisbane include the World Mining Congress (2,000 delegates) and the Society for Freshwater Science Annual Meeting (900 delegates) both in June 2023, the International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in July 2023 with 6,000 delegates, and the FIP World Congress of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Services in September 2023 , set to attract 2,500 participants. These events will provide a boost to Brisbane’s economy as well as its reputation as a top destination for conferences and events.

Brisbane’s growing popularity as a conference destination can be attributed to a number of factors, including its stunning natural beauty, vibrant cultural scene, and world-class facilities. The city is home to a number of iconic landmarks, such as the Story Bridge and the South Bank Parklands, which provide a stunning backdrop for events and conferences.

Lorelle Chittick, General Manager, Tourism, Business & Major Events at Brisbane Economic Development Agency, puts it like this: “Brisbane is a premier destination for conferences and meetings, with world-class facilities and stunning natural beauty. Our city’s unique combination of modern infrastructure, award-winning venues, and outdoor spaces make it an ideal location for events of all sizes and types. Brisbane has a thriving business and knowledge community, and we are committed to supporting our local businesses and industries, including the tourism and hospitality sectors, to ensure that they continue to thrive.”

Also worth noting is than Brisbane has been recognized as Australia’s fastest-growing sustainable destination, with a 6-point increase in its 2022 Global Destination Sustainable (GDS) Index score to 71%. The city was ranked across four categories, namely Environmental, Social, Supplier, and Destination Management, benchmarking it against global green leaders Gothenburg, Copenhagen, and Stockholm. Brisbane performed strongly across the Social and Destination Management categories and showed the biggest rank improvement compared to Sydney and Melbourne.

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