As NSW prepares to open ‘business events industry must be part of the plan’

Ehssan Veiszadeh, Committee for Sydney Deputy CEO.

Representatives of Sydney’s business events industry have joined with the Committee for Sydney and Business Sydney as the Sydney Business Events Coalition to call on the NSW Government to pave a pathway for the return of business events.

After 10 weeks in lockdown, and with another four to go, Sydney is holding on to event bookings from October through to the end of the year.

Without certainty now that events can proceed, those businesses 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.

The Sydney Business Events Coalition is calling for business events to re-open to vaccinated attendees at one person per two square metres in October and the development of a vaccine passport that translates both nationally and internationally.

“The survival of businesses across the events supply chain are at risk,” Sydney Business Events Coalition spokesperson Geoff Donaghy said.

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

“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.”

In a usual year, delegates and attendees at events at ICC Sydney alone contribute almost $1 billion to the local economy, with the vast majority of that being spent outside the venue.

“The economic impact of business events also reaches across regional New South Wales through the farmers, primary producers and winemakers that supply event venues and their surrounding precincts,” said Donaghy.

“Business events also foster the knowledge economy and lead to local talent and research funding opportunities for universities and research centres.”

Ehssan Veiszadeh, Committee for Sydney Deputy CEO, 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.”

Paul Nicolaou, Business Sydney’s incoming executive director, said the economic impact of business events was a major driver of the city’s economy.

“Sydney’s economy will not recover until business events return,” Nicolaou said.