According to the Business Events Council of Australia’s State of the Industry report, 189,500 delegates visited the country during 2012. This was up on the 2011 total of 171,000.
Delegate arrivals from the United Kingdom rose by 17% year-on-year. However, New Zealand remained the major source of conference visitors to Australia, with 2012 numbers up 2.5% compared with 2011. The number of delegates from the United States of America grew 26% and China 23%.
Australia has increased its market share of international association meetings, rising from a ranking of 16th in 2011 to 13th last year.
Inge Garofani, BECA executive manager, said a majority of the key performance indicators showed continued growth for the industry, which had recovered from the impact of the recent global financial crisis, and that it was in a "strong and health state".
She said: "The outlook is extremely positive. We are ahead of our 2020 target for arrivals and well on track to achieving our goal of being a $31 billion industry by 2020.
"With the new coalition Government putting tourism and business events under the Minister for Industry and the Minister for Trade and Investment we can only see this outlook further improving."