Hosting any major international event is something of an accident of history. It is a curious mix of circumstance, opportunity, luck and the nuances of the international political cycle.
In the case of the 2014 G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane, we were a city in the right place at the right time. On any objective basis, the odds of Australia’s third largest city ever hosting the world’s ultimate meeting of leaders would be considered low. Yet here we are.
It is quite an honour. To give this context, even a super-power and economic powerhouse like China sees enormous long-term value in hosting the world in this way.
An article in China’s Global Times in April speculated that China was keen to host a G20 in the near future, seeing it as “a great opportunity for China to extend its national interests, enhance China’s image worldwide, and shape China’s status as a world power”.
Yet here we are.
As a city we need to embrace this opportunity and ensure it becomes an important historical marker for the city and one that can bring enormous short and long-term benefits for businesses and people. This is why:
- There are not just 7000 delegates and media coming. These are probably the most influential 7000 people on the planet. Their impressions of Brisbane and the contacts they make here could set the international tone for the city for decades.
- We like to think that Brisbane is well known across the world. This is not necessarily true and we sometimes sit below where we should be on international reputational indexes. During the G20 period literally billions of people will be engaged in an event happening in our city. We get these chances to grab the world spotlight perhaps once in a generation.
- There is a limited supply of capital in the world and hundreds of cities competing for it. Any opportunity to put Brisbane in a global investment conversation has the potential to improve future living standards and create jobs.
- The numbers of delegates coming just for the G20 event itself will inject an estimated $20 million into the local economy. This is on top of the tens of millions being ingested into the Brisbane economy by the Federal Government with all the related logistics, catering and short-term jobs.
- Successfully hosting a G20 has the potential to drive confidence in the local economy and boost spending and jobs. Unlike large sporting events, a G20 does not require a city to spend billions on new infrastructure.
- The State Government is staging a two-week cultural celebration in the weeks before the G20 that will bring thousands of people into the city and drive significant economic activity to local businesses.
- The G20 will drive an estimated $80 million worth of positive publicity about Brisbane. To put that in context, a $2 million domestic advertising campaign can be expected to drive about $30 million in extra tourism spending and every $60,000 in tourism spending supports or creates a job in the services industry. Publicity puts us into the consideration zone for investors and tourists. They bring real money into our economy for the benefit of all.
- Conventions are a strong driving force for economic activity and a G20 is the world’s ultimate convention. By hosting this event we send a powerful message about Brisbane’s prowess as a place for large meetings. We can also showcase our world class conventions centre.
- The G20 is already making Brisbane more interesting as a city for international journalists. In recent weeks there have been visits by journalists from China, Indonesia, the United States, the UK, Peru, Columbia, Japan and Brazil. One journalist alone had three million social media followers! This event is already putting Brisbane on the map.
Yes, here we are and we still have six months to ensure the world sees Brisbane as one of the world’s friendliest cities and a serious player in this region of the world. If we work together as a city the legacy will be substantial. #G20Brisbane
Shane Rodgers is Brisbane Marketing Director of Marketing and Communications.
Shane and BBS Communications Executive Chairman, Lady Jane Edwards AM, will present a session on how to leverage marketing and business opportunities from a major world event like the G20 at a special Australian Marketing Institute breakfast on June 18. Click here for further details.
Article originally published here.