Impact Publications : MiceBTN_63
Page 4 • MICEBTN - May-JULy 2016 PCOA goes back to Queensland and says streaming promises much wider conference ‘reach’ TO celebrate its ninth year, Australia’s Professional Conference Organisers Association is returning to Queensland (where the organisation was formed) for its annual conference in November. And this year the event could see its biggest-ever delegate totals. PCOA president Barry Neame said early-stage talks on web streaming – which would massively boost participation - with alliance member PCO organisations in Malaysia and Thailand were progressing. “Our associate members in Malaysia and Thailand have expressed strong interest in some kind of participation in our annual conference and the idea to stream the event was suggested,” said Neame. “We are looking into the logistics and costs of streaming the conference and I hope we will be able to include this op- tion in the conference program. Also, a delegation of members in Malaysia want to attend the Brisbane conference in person and combining their attendance with a famil of Brisbane MICE facilities would fit nicely with Brisbane being host city for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.” Meanwhile, planning for the annual PCOA conference is well under way, with more than half of the available booths sold and signing of some ‘very inspirational’ speakers only weeks away. The speaker sessions will focus on making business more productive and deliver ‘how to’ examples so mem- bers are better equipped to meet the changes and challenges of the market- place. This year’s post-famils will feature facilities and services in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. “ We are expecting our strongest-ev- er turnout for this year’s conference,” said Neame. “Our first conference was held on the Gold Coast in 2007 and we have returned to Queensland to acknowledge our ninth anniversary as Australia’s leading organisation for professional conference organisers. The 2016 conference will be held at the Brisbane Convention Exhibition Centre 27-29 November.” The strengthening MICE market au- gurs well for the November event. Meetings and conferences have shown a return to growth in 2016 with all sectors and states reporting buoyant market conditions. “The market may slow slightly, ahead of the July federal elections, particularly for government business, but members are busy and report strong interest,” said Neame. “The Australian dollar has come off its highs against the US dollar and this has led many Australian companies to stage their meetings and conferences in Australia rather than go off shore to destinations like Hawaii and Singapore, which are now considered relatively expensive. “Business is so good on the east coast generally that accessing Sydney accommodation has become a problem. “Sydney is experiencing very strong corporate demand for rooms and this is making it harder to get room blocks for meetings and events at reasonable prices,” said Neame. “It will no doubt be on the agenda for our November meeting.” The outcome of the expected close-run July federal election does not faze Neame, as MICE has been recognised by both major political parties as a key generator of business growth. The PCO Association is a member of - and comes under the umbrella of - the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) on national policy issues. BECA has lobbied both parties on the vital role MICE plays in Austral- ia’s GDP. Research has shown MICE is a significant driver of ancillary community benefits associated with meetings and events. “Business events build business collab- orations across industry sectors,” said Neame. “BECA’s aim is to demonstrate to government that building strong col- laborations across the health sectors, agriculture , IT sectors between Aus- tralia and Asia will build lasting business networks. Conferences are not just an experience for the participants but have much broader positives for the wider community. Business events don’t end in isolation when the conference ends; they go on working and delivering business ties, education ties and are the catalyst for collaboration and subsequent growth in industry sectors in the region.” Looking ahead, Neame said the PCO Association would build on its “very successful “ program of webinars in 2016-17. “The webinars over the internet have generated incredible interest and support, as is evident by the numbers,” said Neame. “It is obvious from feed- back that this is the preferred method of training and education for members and it will be the major focus for the PCO Association going forward. Our member associations in Malaysia and Thailand have also expressed interest in this method of training and requested copies of earlier programs,” he added. BCEC venue for 2016 conference...