ICC Sydney forecasts return to pre-COVID results a year ahead of expectations

The venue has also reported that its event visitor attendance and visitor spend in the community have doubled since the previous financial year.

Strong leadership, a culture of innovation and a focus on sustainability at International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) have contributed to increased event attendance and economic returns during the 2022 financial year, with the venue projecting a sooner than expected return to FY 2019 figures.

ICC Sydney, managed by ASM Global, has reported that its event visitor attendance and visitor spend in the community have doubled since the previous financial year following the release of its 2021/22 Annual Performance Review.

The venue welcomed over 470,000 visitors that delivered A$190 million in visitor expenditure across 300 events — up from 200,000 visitors and an economic contribution of A$80 million in FY 2020/2021.

ICC Sydney chief executive officer and ASM Global (APAC) group director of convention centres, Geoff Donaghy said the efforts of the team over the first eight months of the year were rewarded in the final four months of the year when operating restrictions were eased in Sydney.

“Our ability to stay open, keep our core team engaged with clients and stakeholders while fostering a culture that enables our people to deliver new solutions to fluid challenges has delivered this outstanding result,” Donaghy said.

Over the year, ICC Sydney held 300 events – 261 or 87 percent of those events were held in person, which included 31 events that were a hybrid of in person and online. The venue delivered the majority of in person events and welcomed most of the 470,000 plus people that attended them, between March to June 2022. Condensed largely into four months, the number of in person events was up significantly on the previous year when only 56 percent of events were held in person.

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said ICC Sydney was already contributing to a revitalised city centre while playing a role in attracting business and talent back to Australia’s leading global city.

“ICC Sydney’s global reputation for innovation is central to its success. The venue bounced back as soon as operating conditions allowed and are set to return to contributing around A$1-billion a year to Sydney and regional communities across New South Wales,” Premier Perrottet said.

“Thousands of visitors attending events at ICC Sydney each week are filling up hotels, restaurants and retail outlets, as well as tourism opportunities. It’s great to see the CBD come alive again.”

The earlier than expected return of international events and the changing values shift of clients and attendees towards sustainable venues and communities have also played a role in keeping strong levels of business flowing to ICC Sydney.

“Pent up demand meant domestic business levels returned at pace and in volume. Add to this the return of international events and we are now forecasting a return to FY 2019 figures in FY 2025 – a year earlier than previously projected,” Donaghy said.

However, Donaghy also cautioned that the return to ‘business as usual’ for the international market depended on Business Events Sydney and Tourism Australia retaining the increased investment in their international marketing of Sydney and Australia, faster visa processing and the current operating conditions remaining in place.

Despite the operating conditions throughout the financial year, and in alignment with the ASM Global Acts worldwide sustainability and equity program, ICC Sydney’s new services and steadfast focus on more sustainable outcomes, particularly the potential to leave a positive social impact when events returned, have led to concrete results for the venue and city alike.

“ICC Sydney has continued its focus on making a difference in our community and we released our second Reconciliation Action Plan, renewed our Legacy Program guide for event organisers wanting to creative positive social impacts or lighten their environmental footprint through their events with us and built on our ‘employer of choice’ position through an active diversity and inclusion program across the workforce,” Donaghy said.

While the venue has also maintained both client and delegate satisfaction ratings with a 99 percent client satisfaction rating and a 99 percent delegate satisfaction rating for the year.

The new financial year will see ICC Sydney host major international events such as MDRT Global Conference in August, the Congress of the International Academy of Pathology in October, Sydney World Pride’s Human Rights Conference in March and the International Congress of Actuaries in May.

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