Industry coalition urges NSW Government to reopen Sydney’s business events

With a unified voice, Sydney Business Events Coalition has called for business events to be amongst the first industries to reopen in Sydney in October.

Sydney’s business events industry is urging the New South Wales Government to include business events in its plan to reopen and restart industries for fully vaccinated people.

Sydney Business Events Coalition (SBEC), which comprises of representatives of Sydney’s business events sector, the Committee for Sydney and Business Sydney, is calling for a safe pathway to the return of business events and warning that inaction threatens the survival of jobs.

After 10 weeks in lockdown with another four to go, Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) deputy chair and SBEC spokesperson, Geoff Donaghy, said that Sydney is holding onto event bookings from October through to the end of the year.

“If we don’t give businesses certainty now that events can proceed, they will find it increasingly difficult to retain their workforce and event organisers will be forced to again postpone or cancel events or take them elsewhere,” Donaghy said.

“The industry needs the lifeline of a reopening timeline that includes a vaccine passport now.”

The business events industry contributes $36 billion to the Australian economy, the majority of which is delivered within Greater Sydney, with impacts reaching across regional NSW. Business events visitors spend more than $800 per day, more than three times that of a leisure tourist. The industry also generates 229,000 direct jobs and many more indirect jobs nationally.

“Through its visitor spend, coupled with its deep and far-reaching supply chain, the return of business events will drive the recovery of Sydney’s economy, with the economic impact of business events also reaching across regional New South Wales.”

In a usual year, Donaghy said that delegates and attendees at International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney alone contribute almost $1 billion to the local economy.

“Less than 10% of the economic impact of business events is generated within the venue, the rest is shared with the local economy, including hotels, restaurants, tourism operators and transport operators.”

The Sydney Business Events Coalition is calling for:

  1. The inclusion of business events in the industries to re-open to vaccinated customers from October.
  2. Clearly identifying the vaccine passport process through a public health order.
  3. Developing a vaccine passport customer experience that translates nationally and internationally
  4. Reopening at one person per two square metres

The statement also mentions that if we act now, business events could return to pre-COVID levels within two to three years, but if we don’t that it could take four to five years or more.

With global and interstate competitors open for business, Committee for Sydney Deputy chief executive officer Ehssan Veiszadeh said Sydney was losing out to global competitors.

“It’s so heartening that the NSW Government is planning to reopen our economy as our vaccine numbers rise, but the business events industry must be part of that plan,” Veiszadeh said.

“Sydney risks losing investment and talent attraction opportunities without certainty from the Government that the business events industry can restart safely soon.”

Meanwhile, with business events a key driver in the local economy, Business Sydney incoming executive director, Paul Nicolaou said “Sydney’s economy will not recover until business events return.”

The statement is co-signed by Sydney based members of the key association bodies and organisations representing business events.

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