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Australian Business Events Association Provides Unified Services and Advocacy

Maddy Ryley, Managing Editor
Australian Business Events Association Provides Unified Services and Advocacy as Australian Market Strengthens

CHICAGO — The Australian Business Events Association (ABEA), which formed in mid-2023 due to 84% of the business events sector favoring a new entity to represent it to government and the broader business community, has been making strides since its formation.Australian Business Events Association (ABEA) logo

Three industry associations — the Australian Convention Centres Group, the Exhibition and Events Association of Australasia Ltd and the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux — voted to suspend operations and join forces to form the ABEA, which officially launched on July 1, 2023. The ABEA seeks to bring together industry players, tourism, influential stakeholders and government and government agencies for more effective advocacy and membership services for the $36 billion Australian business events industry.

According to Associations Now, ABEA set goals to appoint a CEO, establish state and territory chapters, fill board positions and confirm committee members and chairs in its 90-day plan. The ABEA also held various events for members and special interest groups to bring awareness to the association.

The existing directors from the merged associations formed the inaugural ABEA Board of Directors, after initially forming the Project Delivery Group, which led the work on ABEA’s formation. Since forming, the ABEA has further solidified its leadership team, with Melissa Brown appointed CEO and Domenic Genua as Chief Operating Officer.

The ABEA prioritizes representing the entire Australian business events ecosystem and has an encompassing membership model to ensure that all sized businesses are represented and supported. The needs and financial capabilities of members are taken into account, and different levels and tiers of membership are available.

Related. A New Australian Business Events Association Seeks to Serve and Unify Needs of Industry Professionals in the Country

With clear overarching strategies, including advocacy; research and policy; industry development; member services; promotion of industry and association; and political traction, the ABEA is designed to promote industry prosperity and elevate professionals.

“We are only six months young, however we have already launched the brand and the business, hired staff, delivered the Leading Well program and established 17 councils which will assist in delivering on our strategic pillars of advocacy, research, professional development, community and impact,” Brown said. “Other benefits have been the bringing together of all parts of the industry to create a real sense of community and enthusiasm to drive the prosperity of the industry and to make it an attractive place to work.”

The ABEA and the International Congress and Convention Authority have come together to invite emerging industry leaders to submit ideas on attracting, retaining and motivating talent for the industry, with one individual to be selected to present at the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event’s (AIME) Leadership Forum in February 2024.

“The program will guide and prepare Emerging Leaders for the transition into exceptional leadership, honing skills such as the management of mindsets and the crucial aspect of wellbeing in today’s professional landscape. Exploring the emerging field of systemic leadership, which places organizational system wellbeing at the forefront, participants will gain insights into reading human systems and enhancing connections through constructive feedback-based conversations,” Brown said. “The feedback from both participants and their managers has been outstanding with a 100% of attendees saying they’d refer to a colleague.”

Along with professional opportunity and workforce development, the ABEA is looking to reinforce existing relationships, create new partnerships and identify stakeholders in government to create an advocacy framework.

“Many of our members already have solid relationships with government at a state level which we will support, as well as look to build a collaborative and productive government relations plan with our relevant federal government departments and other key stakeholders,” Brown said. “Now having one unified group or voice for the industry means that the Australian Business Events Association is already being asked as the representative for the industry at various roundtables and advisory panels.”

Melbourne Reports Strong Financial Year

The Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) recently announced a strong financial year for 2022/2023 that exceeded expectations.

With a 74% increase in economic contribution from business events being secured from the year prior, the Bureau reported 197 business events worth $354 million were secured for future dates. The organization reports 196,000 room nights have been secured due to business events and anticipates more than 100,500 people will visit the destination to attend them.

Throughout the course of the year, Melbourne hosted 187 large-scale conventions, which pumped $385 million into the state of Victoria’s visitor economy.

Reach Melissa Brown at

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