Challenging convention

We are leading industry research to demonstrate how conferences are catalysts for thriving economies and drive social change

Since 2010, Business Events Sydney has partnered with the University of Technology Sydney to produce a series of leading Beyond Tourism Benefits reports that identify the social legacies of business events.

The first study released in 2011, Beyond Tourism Benefits: measuring the social legacies of business events documented the broad and long-lasting legacies of five business events held in Sydney between 2009 and 2011.

The second phase of this study sought to apply the research globally, involving contributions from Sydney’s Future Convention Cities Initiative (FCCI) partners Seoul, Toronto and Durban. Considered a world first, the findings from this report, Beyond Tourism Benefits: Building an international profile were released by the FCCI at IMEX Frankfurt in May 2014.

In addition to this, in 2014 BESydney released Direct expenditure attributed to business events held in NSW which closely examined the direct expenditure contribution from association delegates to host destinations.

Then in 2015, BESydney released the results of a fourth investigation, which studied the true value of incentive and reward programs, Asian Incentive Events in NSW: Expenditure and retail impact.

The report found the incentive event market to be the most lucrative segment, spending:

• on average 6.5 times more than holiday visitors ($974 compared to $151);

• up to 9.4 times more than holiday visitors ($1,418 compared to $151); and

• five times the spend of other business visitors.

In September 2016, BESydney launched its latest research study in its Beyond Tourism Benefits series with Australia's Ambassador to the US, the Hon. Joe Hockey, Conferences: catalysts for thriving economies.

Conferences: catalysts for thriving economies evaluates the longer-term impacts that are enjoyed by industries, governments and communities when a business event is held. It surveyed delegates and organisers from business events held in Sydney in 2014 and 2015. The report concludes that there are four main dimensions to the legacy of business events, and each dimension comprises specific elements that contribute the real value of business events to communities:

  • innovation
  • collaboration
  • sector development
  • attraction of global talent.

The findings support previous studies that have found that some of the most significant social outcomes from international conferences have culminated years, and even decades, after the event was held, and have significant positive impacts on associations, government and communities.

Key outtakes:

  • 91% of those surveyed agreed that conferences immediately exposed delegates to new and innovative ideas
  • 76% agreed that conferences supported the development of global research and collaboration
  • 68% said conferences developed knowledge and capabilities of current practitioners and those of the future
  • 83% of those agreed that the conference enabled the local sector to showcase its expertise to a global audience
  • 41% would like to live and work/study in Sydney as a result of attending the conference
  • 7% have applied for a position to work or study in Sydney, enhancing the local expertise on a permanent or semi-permanent basis.

Business events are a critical part of host economies, and have flow-on effects through an extensive range of stakeholders, including sponsors, exhibitors, ancillary service providers and government agencies. Importantly, the report supports this view – while delegates gain new knowledge, technical expertise and grow their professional networks, local communities enjoy the benefits of more skilled practitioners who can apply new learnings in their professions.


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