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Australia80 / ConferenCe & Meetings World / issUe 65Advancing Australia's meetingsAlMost the size of eUrope With its entire popUlAtion residing Along its expAnsive CoAstline, AUstrAliA ContinUes to reMAin bUllish in A bUsy internAtionAl Meetings lAndsCApeWords Sarah O'DOnnell

AustraliaISSUE 65 / ConfErEnCE & MEEtIngS World / 81espite Australia's reputation as a leisure oasis with an abundance of iconic landscapes, flora and fauna, the country remains the 13th largest global economy and is ranked 16th in the 2010-11 Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum. Business events (BE) are said to be one of the highest yielding sectors in Australia's visitor economy. In 2009, the country's BE delegate expenditure was worth AU$7.9bn (US$8.2bn) annually and by 2020, it Below: Melbourne's coastline offers plenty of ideas for entertaining delegatesAustralia escaped the worst of the global financial crisis and its economy has remained buoyantGroup director of convention centres for AeG oGden, Geoff donAGhyis expected to contribute up to $16bn. In May 2011, convention bureau BE Australia (BEA) reported a 11 per cent year-on-year rise of convention visitor arrivals to 173,000, with a particularly strong increase from the Asia-Pacific region and key markets such as India, Korea, China and Japan. "Brand Australia is strong and will continue to attract solid business from the Asia-Pacific, where growing markets are creating more opportunities," said Event Director of the 20th Australasian meetings and incentive tradeshow, AIME 2012, Sally de Swart. She said there has been "encouraging growth from the US, the UK, Germany and Canada as the economic situation improves".The Group Director of Convention Centres for AEG Ogden and VP of International Association of Congress Centres, Geoff Donaghy said: "Australia escaped the worst of the impacts of the global financial crisis (GFC) and its economy has remained buoyant. This meant corporate business, which was the D