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Business events are important contributors to Australia’s visitor economy. Business events attract high-yield domestic and international travellers to and across Australia. High-yield travellers spend more than average on accommodation, food, services and experiences during their trips.  

Our Tourism Research Australia (TRA) team now publishes business events data in its official statistics. Business events data forms part of TRA’s Domestic Visitor Survey (NVS) and International Visitor Survey (IVS).

Improving data and insights is a priority of Australia’s long-term strategy for the visitor economy, THRIVE 2030. TRA leads this work within Austrade.

Check this page quarterly, as we plan to expand the business events data we publish.

The latest business events data

1 January to 31 December 2023

Spend in Australia

Spend in Australia is the internationally endorsed measure of the amount spent by international travellers to Australia. It captures the expenditure that occurs within Australia wherever the traveller was when they made their purchase, how they made the purchase, or the ownership of the business where the purchase was made.

Over the period:

  • Visitors travelling for business events spent $20.9 billion in Australia during their trip.
  • Of this total, $2.6 billion was spent in Australia by international visitors. 
  • The remaining $18.3 billion of spend included $16.9 billion from domestic overnight travel and $1.4 billion through domestic daytrips to attend business events.

International visitation for business events was in a recovery phase during 2023. International visitor numbers for 2023 (742,000) were at 71% of pre-COVID figures (compared to 2019).  

Total trip spend

Extra expenditure on business travel that is not captured in the official Spend in Australia measure can also be of interest to the industry and policymakers. This broader measure is referred to as Total Trip Spend. It captures additional expenditure that occurs outside Australia (for example, international airfares) that does not make its way into the Australian economy.

Over the period, the business events sector contributed an extra $2 billion in spend overseas to generate $23 billion in total trip spend. This $23 billion is made up of:

  • $4.6 billion from international visitors
  • $16.9 billion from domestic overnight travel
  • $1.4 billion through domestic daytrips to attend business events. 

Open the Visitor Economy Facts and Figures data in full-screen mode.

How we define business events

Business events data collected through the NVS and IVS includes all business-related activities where the survey respondent either attended or accompanied someone who attended a:

  • business meeting
  • corporate event
  • convention or conference
  • seminar
  • exhibition
  • trade fair.

Why measuring business events is important

According to THRIVE 2030, having relevant, robust and timely data is critical for growth. It underpins good decision-making, business growth and investor confidence. It’s also important for measuring industry performance, monitoring trends and informing government policy.

Business events add more value than just the immediate boost from traveller spend. They facilitate the exchange of ideas, concepts, systems and products, and create new networks and opportunities. These then add economic benefit by:

  • stimulating trade and investment
  • attracting talent
  • fostering innovation
  • improving productivity.

Our business events measurements will support decision-making about which business events Australia should target. It will also help the visitor economy understand how it can benefit from these travellers and increase the chance that they will make return visits.

The history of business events data

Measuring the value of business events has always been challenging. That’s because they:

  • vary in size, type and by industry
  • can take place in more than one location
  • involve multiple data sources.

We have worked with the business events industry on how to incorporate business events measurements into visitor economy statistics.

This includes work with the Australian Business Events Association (ABEA) to further develop and enhance statistics and insights for the sector.

Learn more

Stay up to date on the latest tourism policies, programs, research, and broader Australian Government programs to support the visitor economy. Subscribe to Austrade’s Visitor Economy News and TRA News Alerts

Contact TRA