The economic benefit of the 23rd ITS World Congress is now estimated to be AU$46.6 million (£26.8m) – nearly twice the initial projection.
The organisers attribute the increase to the higher than anticipated attendance figures. More than 11,500 Australian and international delegates participated – that’s 4,500 registrations more than the target figure of 7,000. They say the high volume of visitors had a positive impact on the local economy with benefits felt, in particular, across hotels, transport companies, restaurants and places of interest.
Brian Negus, President of ITS Australia, hosts of the World Congress, says selling Melbourne as a destination of choice was an important aspect of promoting the event, “The Congress was a great success and from an industry point of view, it showcased Melbourne’s integrated transport network, connected local industries to the global market and enabled Australian leaders to engage with international colleagues.
“From a destination perspective, we knew Melbourne would be a draw card and ensured the city’s cultural diversity, restaurants and cafés, tourism, sporting and heritage attractions were featured. Delegates could even pet our unique animals in the exhibition centre.
“But it wasn’t just Melbourne that benefited. After travelling a combined total of more than 36 million kilometres to come here, many visitors then made additional trips to regional Victoria and interstate.”
ITS Australia say delivering the ITS World Congress to Melbourne was a collaborative effort, involving many partners including the Victorian Government, Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).
The ITS World Congress showcased Melbourne’s multi modal transport network, taking more than 650 delegates to key air, sea, road, train, tram and freight centres. Albert Park’s internationally recognized Formula One track was one of multiple locations for 3,500 booked live vehicle technology demonstrations.
The nearly 250 Plenary, Executive, Special Interest, Scientific and Technical sessions, 278 exhibiting partners, a Hackathon and the student and public community projects were held at the MCEC.
With Australia is not expected to host another World Congress for several years, ITS Australia Chief Executive, Susan Harris says it was important to maximize the opportunity and build a legacy, “The World Congress put Australia on the transport technology map and shone the spotlight on our position as global leaders. A number of industry opportunities, partnerships and initiatives are now underway and over the next few years, we expect to see more World Congress benefits realized, which will positively impact industry and consumers with safer, more efficient and sustainable transport options.”