Business Events Sydney has admitted the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre re-development is posing a number of challenges as efforts continue to relocate events during the lock down period.
Speaking at the Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) conference in Sydney last week, BESydney chief executive Lyn Lewis-Smith revealed that alternative venues are being finalised for 160 exhibitions which were scheduled to take place during the SCEC closure.
The “majority” of events have been re-located to venues across New South Wales, but several major events traditionally held in Sydney have been handed to other states, she said. More events may be lost as alternative venues are found for the remaining exhibitions.
Noting that 77% of events secured by BESydney have been successfully relocated, she said the process was tracking well so far. “But this could be an area of some difficulty over the next three years,” she told the conference.
Lewis-Smith described the relocation process as a “real challenge”, but stressed that BESydney would do everything in its capacity to hold on to business.
“We don’t hand over business easily,” she stressed. “Glebe Island Expo is able to cater for all 160 exhibitions during the SCEC closure and national events traditionally held in Sydney will continue to be sold as such.”
While a number of alternative venues have been confirmed, Lewis-Smith highlighted the need to drive traffic to Darling Harbour during the construction phase.
“It’s important that we keep Darling Harbour alive,” she said. “We can drive events in Sydney and surrounds, but we need to keep the precinct alive.”
Glebe Island Expo will be developed as an interim facility house large-scale events during the SCEC closure from 2013-16. Venues including Sydney Olympic Park, Moore Park, Sydney’s hotels and the Australian Technology Park will accommodate for small to medium events before the Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct opens its doors in 2016.
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