Inviting the world to Sydney

Business Events Sydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith outlines why the future is bright for Sydney as a global events destination.

For more than 30 years, Business Events Sydney has been a trusted, independent, not-for-profit company that targets and bids for hosting rights for global meetings to be held in the NSW capital. The organisation’s CEO, Lyn Lewis-Smith, outlines what is in store for the year ahead.

What are your clients seeking in 2024?

Our customers want to know where we stand on sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion, and how we deliver corporate social responsibility outcomes. Customers are seeking values alignment, a deeper cultural connection, and a more immersive experience in the destination when they get here.

This is Sydney’s, and Australia’s, strength, as the city demonstrated by hosting the most welcoming, inclusive, accessible and sustainable WorldPride festival and Human Rights Conference in 2023, which delivered incredible social impact outcomes.

We have noticed as various global markets have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, associations are looking for destinations that can tangibly demonstrate how hosting a meeting can benefit them and their members as much as it does the hosts.

Business Events Sydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith. Photo: Supplied.

What is the Change Starts Here agenda BESydney launched in 2023?

Seeing global trends such as sustainability, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) and ESG/CSR (environmental, social and corporate governance/corporate social responsibility) and knowing this is something our venues, industry and PCOs do very well, we felt this provided a great opportunity to tell our unique Sydney story of being one of the most diverse, accessible, inclusive and sustainable meeting destinations on the planet.

Our social impact project started during the pandemic as a response to these trends. It is designed to leverage the business events we attract to Sydney as a platform to generate and measure positive, long-term social, economic and environmental impacts as a host destination.

Having been leaders in legacy research for the past decade, BESydney has taken the next step in formalising processes, with education and tools to more accountably define and measure these legacies and impacts. We’ve even appointed a new social impact manager to coordinate our efforts with stakeholders and the industry.

We are proud BESydney won the GDS-Movement and #MEEET4IMPACT Impact Award for destination management organisations which are committed to legacy and impact through business events. It is recognition we are heading in the right direction.

Which industries are events coming from and what does Sydney have that attracts them?

Sydney has seen the development and evolution of many innovation precincts: Tech Central for technology and innovation, Westmead Health and Innovation Precinct for health and life sciences, and Barangaroo for finance and professional services. In each of these precincts, corporations and startups are united in purpose.

The NSW Government is using the same lens to attract global talent and foreign direct investment to these precincts as we are using to attract international business events and widen the pool of delegates who wish to attend meetings here.

Together, these factors are a force to be reckoned with, and the people working and contributing to breakthroughs in medicine, science, innovation and tech are inspiring. These concentrated districts are drawcards for event site tours and unprecedented collaboration between business, education, government and research, which leads to commercialisation and manufacturing.

We want professional communities globally to experience this incredible city, get to know our people and discover their shared purpose.

This story appears in the Autumn issue of Spice, as part of our annual Hot Seat feature, which shines a spotlight on the MICE industry’s movers and shakers, and outlines what’s in store for the next 12 months.

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