Brisbane’s convention bureau celebrates 40 years of business events and tourism

Brisbane’s convention bureau is celebrating the 40th anniversary of attracting conferences and visitors to the city.

Established in 1978, the Brisbane Visitors and Convention Bureau merged into the city’s economic development board Brisbane Marketing in 2000.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the formation of the bureau marked the beginning of significant growth in the city’s business events and tourism sectors.

“Every convention that flows into Brisbane builds on our appeal as a business and research destination and delivers economic benefits for tourism and hospitality businesses, including hotels, restaurants and retailers.

“Today business events generate more than $257 million per annum in economic impact for Brisbane.

“Overall visitation to Brisbane has never been stronger, with a record 1.4 million international visitors coming to our city in the year to June 2018. China led this growth with a 25 per cent increase in visitors.”

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Brisbane Marketing marked the 40th anniversary at a networking event with around 200 members and guests comprising hotels, conference venues, event organisers and service providers at Howard Smith Wharves.

Brisbane Marketing’s general manager of business events, Juliet Alabaster, said that since the original bureau was established, some major milestones had helped change perceptions of Brisbane as a business events and tourism destination.

“The 1982 Commonwealth Games and World Expo 88 put Brisbane in the global spotlight and the associated investment in infrastructure catapulted our city’s growth,” said Alabaster.

“Expo 88 paved the way for the development of South Bank Parklands, which evolved into a thriving cultural, entertainment and dining hub situated along the iconic Brisbane River.

“South Bank also became the location of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC), which transformed Brisbane’s ability to bid for and host major conferences when it opened in 1995.

“Brisbane’s global reputation was boosted again when it was chosen to host the 2014 G20 Leader’s Summit, bringing current and former world leaders including US president Barack Obama, UK prime minister David Cameron and German chancellor Angela Merkel to our city.”