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19

Develop an incentive program to attract strategic conferences in low-season

Halifax will be the number one pick to host events and conferences, which will maximize related benefits including economic spending, and attraction and retention of prospective investors and residents.

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Current Stage

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    Initiation 
    To advance, the business case must be developed and approved. A sponsor should be identified, or a project manager assigned. Resources are approved and allocated.

Next Stage

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    First-term priority

Background

In 2019, Halifax welcomed 122 conferences and groups supported by the sales team at Discover Halifax. These events contributed nearly $58 million to our local economy. Conferences and groups also help support Halifax’s goals to attract investment and prospective residents in addition to introducing Halifax as a great destination for leisure travel. Nationally, and in a typical travel year, the Canadian meeting and business events industry has an economic impact of $33 billion, sustains 229,000 direct jobs, and contributes $19.3 billion to Canada’s GDP.

Competing for meetings and conferences is an extremely competitive industry nationally and globally. It has a long sales cycle with most events planned at least two- to five-years in advance. Currently, this is complicated further by the halt of events due to travel and health restrictions, however, business travel for meetings and conventions is expected to experience a strong return post-pandemic. Many cities with a formalized incentive program invest heavily in attracting these conferences and events. As a safe and attractive destination, Halifax already has several advantages to secure future events. To secure strategic events linked to critical investment industries like oceans, life and science, and technology, or events during the shoulder season between November-May, the region needs to establish an appropriate incentive program aligned with the Provincial events strategy.

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