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MEETINGS, incentives, conventions and exhibitions have become an integral part of business for today’s professionals seeking a competitive edge.

They provide valuable ways to meet and exchange information and build contacts.

For many professions, attending these events has become crucial to remaining in business. Even MICE industry professionals must attend and plan a certain number of events each to achieve and maintain accreditation by the Meetings Industry Association.

“Attending conferences is part of ongoing training, people know that unless they attend and find out the latest information, they will simply not be as competitive as the next person,” Congress West principal Katie Clarke says.

Perth Convention Bureau records show that, in 1999-2000, 201 conferences and 47 exhibitions were held in WA.

Last financial year WA hosted 29 international and 45 national conventions.

And with Perth’s first convention centre given the go ahead and plans to expand the Burswood International Resort Casino close to fruition, WA’s MICE industry is expected to grow at a rate of 12 per cent over the next three years.

“With the green light having been given for the construction of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, we confidently expect to attract a bigger share of higher-yielding international conventions,” PCB managing director Anne Ferguson says.

The new facilities will mean a growth not only in the number but also the size of events. Delegate numbers at national conferences are expected to grow by 19 per cent each year until 2004.

Incentive travel – holidays offered as a bonus to high achieving employees – also is a growing market in WA.

The major markets for WA’s incentive travel industry are Asia and Europe.

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