The economic power of exhibitions

Exhibitions as an important driver of the economy

Exhibitions, also known as trade shows, expos or even passion events, are a subset of the business event industry. Nationally, business events are known to be important drivers of the national economy, contributing to trade and investment outcomes, innovation, jobs creation and visitation.

Their value goes well beyond the industry sector of the event – for small and big business. These events play a pivotal role in Australia’s economic prosperity, including boosting the visitor economy through domestic and international visitation (such as transport, hotels, retail and restaurants), facilitating small business growth by connecting buyers and sellers, knowledge sharing leading to innovation and business collaboration (both locally and globally) and providing a platform for international trade and investment.

In 2015, EY released The Value of Business Events to Australia – a study produced for the Business Events Council of Australia with the support of the Australia Government.

It found that in 2013-14, over 37 million people attended more than 412,000 business events in Australia. These business events directly generated:


The EEAA has used the data from this and other reputable studies, including data collected from its own member community to produce its annual Market Monitor, to promote and profile the value of the industry to the country’s policymakers and business leaders.

There is now broad-based understanding of how the exhibition industry contributes to economic development, jobs creation, trade and investment and innovation, thanks in part to the success of our Power of Exhibitions advocacy campaign, which was launched by Andrew Stoner, then Deputy Premier of New South Wales, in August 2013.

Our advocacy work has yielded significant results, including achieving the highest level of government, business and industry engagement for the sector and a respected voice in key circles of influence in this country. EEAA has been particularly effective at achieving increased industry involvement in government decision making and activities, such as:

  • advocating for the expansion of exhibition facilities at Darling Harbour Sydney, both in the CBD and at Sydney Olympic Park
  • representing the sector in negotiations with the NSW Government to create an interim exhibition centre at Glebe Island and the redevelopment of Darling Harbour
  • advocating for the expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
  • advocating for convention bureaux KPIs to include a remit for exhibition generated visitation
  • the reinstatement of funding for the Perth Convention Bureau
  • the inclusion of EEAA member events in Destination NSW’s promotional activities

  • input into the Victorian Government’s regional economic development strategy
  • the inclusion of EEAA member events in Tourism Australia’s promotional calendar and access to delegate boosting funding
  • participation in international trade missions led by the Department of Trade and Investment (NSW)
  • developing closer ties with Austrade and Trade Commissioners in five countries in Asia to enable members to do more business in the region
  • the inclusion of exhibitions in the policy framework of the Australian Government’s Demand Driver Infrastructure Program
  • attendance at EEAA events by senior political leaders