Colin Barnett (middle) with Australian Hotels Association chief executive Bradley Woods (right) and APPEA chief operating officer Stedman Ellis. Photo: Philip Gostelow

Hotels hope for LNG18 boost

Wednesday, 30 March, 2016 - 12:20

The hotel industry expects up to a quarter of Perth’s hotel rooms to be filled by delegates attending next month’s LNG18 conference, though the number of people attending and the flow-on economic benefits to the state remain unclear.

This will be the second time Perth has hosted the International Conference and Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas.

Premier Colin Barnett told journalists today more than 2,000 delegates from around the world would attend the conference, with about 5,000 people involved overall.

That’s a little shy of the 6,000 guests touted by the Perth Convention Bureau a couple of years ago, when the global petroleum industry was in much healthier condition.

In 2010, when the PCB secured LNG18, it was described as the largest conference and exhibition ever to be held in WA with more than 5,000 delegates expected, along with about $10 million in economic benefits.

The Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, where the majority of LNG18 will be held, has previously said more than 5,000 participants from around the world, including delegates, exhibitors and trade visitors, were expected to attend the event, with about $40 million in economic benefits expected to be realised.

Mr Barnett put a different figure on the conference’s economic flow-through, saying LNG18, which will run for four days beginning April 12, was expected to inject $45 million into the state’s economy.

“It will be a significant boon to the hospitality and tourism industry with the number of hotel bookings equivalent to 2,300 nights at a value of about $6 million,” Mr Barnett said.

About 68 per cent of those attending the conference will be coming from overseas, while about 17 per cent will be coming from the east coast.

A welcome night will also be held on April 11, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will attend.

Keynote speakers at LNG18 will include Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden, Woodside Petroleum CEO Peter Coleman, Chevron boss John Watson, ConocoPhillips chairman Ryan Lance, Inpex president Toshiaki Kitamura, and RasGas CEO Hamad Mubarak Al Muhannadi.

Australian Hotels Association chief executive Bradley Woods said the conference would be a boon for the state’s tourism industry.

“It will mean thousands of delegates staying it hotel rooms, spending in restaurants, cafes and bars, enjoying the conference and exhibition facilities that Perth has to offer, and then travelling out into regional WA, enjoying the surrounds that we have to provide and offer in that sense,” he said.

“We’ve got around 11,000 hotel rooms in Perth, and we’re talking about 2,000-3,000 rooms that will be utilised over LNG18.

“It’s a substantial boost over this period.”

Mr Barnett said a lot of decisions about LNG into the future would be political in nature.

“Countries like Japan, China and India have deliberate policies of increasing the usage of natural gas; they’re building pipeline infrastructure and they’re building receiver terminals, and as prices and the economies recover you will see significant growth in natural gas,” he said.

“If you have a polluted city, the easiest way to clean it up is to reticulate natural gas and to natural gas in power generation.

“Despite the downturn in oil and energy prices, the future for natural gas is remarkable.”

The LNG conference is held every three years, alternating between exporting and importing countries.