Convention issue revolves around the centre

THE lack of a purpose-built convention centre in Perth has not stopped it being one of the Asia-Pacific region’s most popular convention destinations, according to report by the Netherlands-based International Congress and Convention Association.

Perth ranked 13th last year ahead of a number of large Japanese cities, as well as New Delhi, Shanghai and Bali, but fell short of other Australian capital cities, all of which have dedicated convention and exhibition centres.

Perth hosted nine conventions during the year, while Sydney was ranked first for the region with 49 conventions, Melbourne third with 35, Adelaide equal seventh with 18 and Brisbane 10th with 13.

The survey covers the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and all of Asia and Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Only those international conventions that meet ICCA’s criteria in relation to the mobility, regularity and minimum number of 50 delegates are included in the annual survey.

The nine events hosted by Perth included the International Conference on Gas Turbine Use 2000, the 9th World Meeting on Impetus Research, the No Dig 2000 conference held by the Australian Society for Transulance Technology and the International Federation of Manipulative Physiotherapists 2000.

Australia was the leading country in the region with a total of 263 conventions, followed by Japan with 200 and Singapore 86.

Australia’s market share of events held internationally has increased from 3.8 per cent to 5.3 per cent from 1999 to 2000 and was ahead of Spain, France and the Netherlands.

The United States, the most popular destination, held 8.2 per cent of events during 2000.

Sydney ranked as the fifth most popular destination worldwide thanks in part to the interest stemming from the Olympic Games. London was the world’s most popular destination, followed by Madrid, Paris, and Vienna.

Perth convention Bureau managing director Anne-Maree Ferguson believes that the development of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre and an expanded Burswood Casino augured well for the industry.

“I believe we can confidently look forward to our ranking climbing well inside the top 10 over the next four to five years,” she said.

Australian Tourist Commission managing director Ken Boundy said the figures showed that Australia jumped from seventh to fourth in the world.

“The (Olympic) Games generated phenomenal worldwide interest in our country, not only as a holiday destination but also as a business tourism destin-ation,” Mr Boundy said.

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