Australian Ambassador helps Sydney launch new research Conferences: catalysts for thriving economies

19 October 2016

New research by Business Events Sydney (BESydney) further demonstrates that business events, including international conferences and symposia, offer delegates unrestricted exposure to innovative ideas and opportunities to develop new knowledge and skills.

Part of the Beyond Tourism Benefits series, the new study by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) – Conferences: catalysts for thriving economies – also supported that these face-to-face networking opportunities can spark global collaboration, which in turn can progress into new products and services.

Launched at the 2016 International Speaker Series function hosted by the Honourable Joe Hockey, Australia’s Ambassador to the United States of America at the Australian Embassy in Washington, BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith spoke to an esteemed group of association CEOs about the new results.

Ms Lewis-Smith said it was fitting to launch the latest findings about meetings in the context of the evening – an opportunity for leaders in their field to come together, build relationships, share knowledge and gain insight.

“Australia has a thriving smart economy, renowned research and academic institutions, knowledge hubs and bustling industries across a wide range of sectors,” said the Hon. Joe Hockey at the Washington event.

“We understand that innovation is critical for every sector of the economy; for Australia to deliver new sources of growth, maintain high-wage jobs and seize the next wave of economic prosperity,” he said.

Conferences: catalysts for thriving economies evaluates the longer-term impacts that are enjoyed by industries, governments and communities when a business event is held,” said Ms Lewis-Smith. “Our series of studies confirms the immense value that is generated from multiple face-to-face interactions – interactions in which delegates co-create value together.

“Business events mobilise exchanges and collaborations that form the foundation of innovation, economic development and societal change – all catalysts for a thriving economy and prosperous community.”

The latest research 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.

Research:

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