Sydney still dominates but for how long?

Sydney pushed well ahead of Melbourne and Brisbane as the most popular destination for professional and industry association conferences in the 2017/18 financial year, according to new aggregated data from conference sales platform, Conference Monitor.

Of the 1479 industry and association conferences tracked by Conference Monitor from July 2017 to the end of June this year, 433 conferences were held in NSW up by around 22% from the previous financial year. 

Conference Monitor director, Matt Baxter said the reopening of the International Convention Centre (ICC Sydney) continues to be a significant drawcard for national conferences and the refurbishment works on some key venues is also adding appeal to the harbour city.

“It will be interesting to see if Sydney continues to be the prime city for associations in the coming years,” Baxter said. 

“I expect that when refurbishment programs on venues in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Melbourne finish, more conferences will be drawn away from Sydney.  Further venue investments in regional cities, along with increased marketing campaigns will also lift the profile of these destinations for conference organisers that traditionally host events in the capitals.”

For the 2018 financial year, 329 professional or industry association conferences were held in Victoria and 322 in Queensland. 

New Zealand is popular for medical conferences

As well as being the most popular overseas destination for Australian professional associations to host conferences, New Zealand was also the most popular off-shore country for healthcare and medical association conferences.  The country hosted 26 of the 39 Australian association conferences tracked by Conference Monitor that were held overseas during the last financial year.

Some 15 of those were healthcare/medical sector events, the largest being the RANZCP 2018 Congress by the Australasian Musculoskeletal Imaging Group (AMSIG) attracting 1,400 industry professionals to the SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre.

The healthcare and medical sector generates the most professional association conferences in Australia, with 416 taking place in 2018, according to Conference Monitor data.  The advertising/marketing sectors and the education sector are the second and third biggest generators of conferences in Australia.


September and December quarters still preferred for conferences


Analysis of the 1,479 conferences in the Conference Monitor database last year also confirms that the September and December quarters remain the most popular times for conferences, with 894 of the total. 

October and November continued to be the most popular months with 230 and 198 conferences hosted in those months respectively.  May was also a popular month to host conferences with Conference Monitor tracking 197 events held that month.


700,000 to attend conferences in the next 2 years

Conference Monitor tracks more than 7,000 conferences regularly held in Australia and New Zealand. Forward estimates from the database show conferences currently in planning and scheduled to be held over the next two years will attract more than 700,000 delegates to the successful venues.

Conference Monitor’s research team is currently tracking 1,504 conferences that will take place in the next two years, many of which are yet to finalise their venue contracts. Numerous larger events also tracked by Conference Monitor are scheduled even further out (in some cases as much as seven years.) These provide invaluable planning leads for venues and conference organisers.

More conferences are added to the database each week, with around 1,700 events expected to be tracked this year.



Please note: Conference Monitor specialises in tracking conferences organised by Australian professional associations that are held annually in Australian.  We do not generally include visiting international conferences or similar one-off events in our analysis and any have been removed from this research.  Corporate events are also not included in this data piece.     


About Conference Monitor


Hotels and conference venues use the Conference Monitor sales platform to assist with their marketing and forward planning.  Advance knowledge of conference space requirements helps venues to market their services and to allocate resources for the coming year.