ICC Sydney delivers A$510m despite Covid

International Convention Centre Sydney performs strongly, with delegates boosting economy. Venue rapidly pivoted to digital and community support as pandemic gripped

DELEGATES attending events at ICC Sydney generated A$150 million in direct spending for New South Wales despite the economic fallout from Covid-19 on the 2019-20 financial year.

International Convention Centre Sydney’s shows a year in two parts with the showpiece venue initially on track for another strong economic and operational year in 2019/20. But this was by the outbreak of Covid-19, with gatherings and travel restrictions shutting down all in person events at the venue from mid-March onward.

In the first eight months of 2019/20, ICC Sydney generated A$510 million in delegate expenditure for the state of New South Wales and created 2,806 local jobs, demonstrating the ongoing value of the $1.5 billion development to the local economy and jobs.

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This was however down by A$386m from FY2018/19 due to four months of lost operations. In 2018/19, 12 months of events generated A$896m in delegate expenditure and 5,790 jobs.

Of the A$510m in expenditure generated in 2019/20, 73 per cent (A$375 million) came from 70,593 international visitors, who also contributed to 981,445 overnight stays in Sydney. This in turn drove continued investment in local hotel refurbishment and development, but was significantly down on 1.77 million overnight stays in the previous year due to gathering and travel restrictions preventing events from mid-March.

A spokesman for ICC Sydney said the Darling Harbour complex was one of the first convention centres globally to respond to the pandemic by developing an industry leading set of protocols – ICC Sydney’s EventSafe Operating Framework – to enable and expedite the safe operating and return of events.

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Virtual event solutions were quickly launched for clients and the venue support the local community during the pandemic.

Between March and 30 June 2020, the venue delivered 55 virtual events, including pro bono events for government agencies, industry associations and charities. ICC Sydney also provided its facilities to NSW emergency services for parking and the military used the venue’s expansive space for training.

Geoff Donaghy, ICC Sydney chief executive, said: “While the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our operations and output in what was set to be another extraordinarily strong year, our Annual Performance Review is an important reminder of the enormous cultural, social and economic value of ICC Sydney.

“I am confident that both ICC Sydney and the wider business events industry will play an important role in Sydney’s and Australia’s recovery from this crisis”.

Picture: Main conference section at ICC Sydney. Photo by Guy Wilkin

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