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Mice Net : October 2008
business events australia cutting edge pco Column by Joyce DiMascio Head of business events australia tourism australia CSR strategies Corporate soCial responsibility is crucial in business events. successful business events, it is encouraging to see the Australian business events sector delivering on both fronts. At Business Events Australia’s recent global team and industry meeting, a chorus of reports from the Asian, European and North American markets stressed the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices to the business events sector. US clients are demanding creative, socially responsible ‘green’ experiences, while in Europe a raft of new environmental and social initiatives is pushing the CSR envelope. According to Conference & Incentive Travel Magazine’s Agency Survey in February, more than three quarters of conference and incentive agencies in Britain now have a formal CSR policy in place. Across the Asian markets, ‘green’ issues are slowly but surely becoming a major focus. Asian companies are seeking out CSR- based experiences, recognising the unique environmental heritage that Australia offers. There are many well-known natural drawcards in Australia for business events. Increasingly these experiences are being developed to meet accredited standards of eco best practice. Tourism Australia is one of the first national tourism offices in the world to embrace this opportunity by conducting a national CSR audit of Australia’s business events sector. The aim is to identify Australia’s growing portfolio of ‘responsible’ product and operators. Business Events Australia has also released details of billions of dollars of new infrastructure. The business events sector is set for a huge boost as A$3.7bn worth of new infrastructure comes to market. This new and expanding portfolio of product will continue to provide our clients across Asia with more reasons to keep considering Australia for their next business tourism event. And each time they choose Australia, we will aim to deliver an authentic premium event which will inspire and reward delegates. W 16 mice.net ith the success of the Beijing Olympics, environmental issues and event infrastructure are squarely in the international spotlight. As critically important issues to story by Ros McLeoD aCtion reflection and sometimes Change isn’t welCome but we have to look to the future. T his column is dedicated to my dear industry colleagues who are no longer with us – Miles Clarke and Dawn Wells. The industry will rally to recognise Miles Clarke and I know that many of you will support him in his passing as he supported us in his life as a prominent meetings journalist. The loss of my industry friend Dawn Wells (aka Reeves) of more than 30 years in the same week made it dark days indeed. The loss of both of these people should make us realise how frail life can be and how valuable each day is to focus on the good aspects of our life and our industry. Taking time to reflect on life is probably what is needed at this point. The week in which they both died was one of many mixed emotions. Thinking about our industry friends and acquaintances was tough for a small band of dedicated colleagues who were moulding the paper for the federal minister on a business events strategy that has an imminent deadline. Right now Australia is at a crossroads in the meetings industry. Poor advice or poor decisions, taking the wrong direction, or not going in a decisive direction could wreak havoc on our future. The team at the Business Events Council of Australia is working with the Federal Government, Tourism Australia and other industry associations to conjure up the document that should enhance our future. Much of the information from which the paper is being formulated comes from information that is out there in industry press. The departure of a prolific writer who ferreted out news and interpreted facts so that we could all understand will be sadly missed but the contributions must go on. It is important to be daring and report the change taking place so Australia doesn’t get left behind - the responsibility now resides with those of us who are left to carry on the work. Roslyn McLeod is the founder and managing director of Tour Hosts, a Sydney-based conference and event management company.