ICC Sydney Key to City's Visitor Economy

Cross sector collaboration and a commitment to investment in world leading infrastructure is driving Sydney’s position as one of the globe’s most desirable destinations and making it increasingly competitive according to International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) CEO, Geoff Donaghy, and industry leaders, who discussed the future of the city’s visitor economy at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event this week.

Titled Delivering Sydney’s Visitor Economy: Drivers and Directions, a key note address from John O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Tourism Australia, outlined the exciting gains Sydney has made in attracting critical visitation, with more than 8 million people visiting the city in 2016, spending approximately AU$40 billion.

This was followed by a panel discussion with Donaghy alongside Lyn Lewis-Smith, Chief Executive Officer for Business Events Sydney and Margy Osmond, Chief Executive Officer for the Tourism and Transport Forum.

The group agreed that Sydney is strongly positioned within the global landscape, and has the opportunity to leverage its outstanding reputation to continue driving growth for the local visitor economy. They noted that concerted State-wide collaboration to provide guests with world class end-to-end experiences has been key to Sydney becoming increasingly competitive worldwide.

The panel also emphasised three key factors as underpinning Sydney’s continued success:

  • Investment in infrastructure
  • Co-ordination between the government and industry
  • Structured, mutually beneficial relationships between Sydney and the regions

Donaghy said that ICC Sydney is a leading example of the importance of synergy between government and industry to help maintain NSW’s burgeoning visitor economy, which continues to be one of the fastest growing contributors to the national economy.

“ICC Sydney is Australia’s premier convention, exhibition and entertainment venue and represents an AU$1.5 billion investment by the State. It is helping boost visitation and delivering immediate returns. To date, a quarter of visitors to ICC Sydney have come to attend a business event, and that is more than 600,000 people in just six months. Those travelling for business spend up to six times more than their leisure counterparts, making them key to enhancing visitor expenditure, which grew by 5.9 per cent last year, double that of the overall economy (2.5 per cent),” he said.

“Sydney also has an important role to play as a gateway to surrounding areas and, as a venue, ICC Sydney is truly committed to supporting regional NSW. We are doing this by working directly and collaboratively with more than 60 farmers, helping to create positive economic and social impact in their respective communities. While we present their produce to visitors, we are also positioning their regions as destinations that offer a compelling and complementary view of Australian culture.”  

Donaghy said the events ICC Sydney hosts play a key role in driving the intellectual capital of the city as well.

“The venue attracts global thought leaders from across industries to Sydney and acts as a critical nexus between visitors and local intellectual talent, strengthening our knowledge economy by promoting the sharing of ideas and information. It is a win-win for all.”