Everywhere you look in Sydney there’s something happening. Operators are predicting a very strong year ahead, especially those that already have good connectivity.
Shopkeepers and operators along George Street are looking forward to the completion of Sydney’s new light rail system. Sadly for those visiting the city or working in the city in 2018, completion is another year away.
Nevertheless, it will be an exciting addition to a city that for years now has been struggling with better road and rail connectivity.
The CBD and South East Light Rail, the new light rail network for Sydney, is a 12km route that will feature 19 stops, extending from Circular Quay along George Street to Central Station, through Surry Hills to Moore Park, then to Kensington and Kingsford via Anzac Parade and Randwick via Alison Road and High Street.
Like Melbourne’s tram network that is so popular with visiting convention delegates, the Sydney light rail should also prove popular for the business event sector.
With the growth of large association meetings, there are plenty of plusses for a city that not only offers quality venues and accommodation but accessibility to all in a cheap and effective manner. What the light rail will mean will be better access between hotels and major convention precincts, like Darling Harbour.
And, if the growth in Airbnb is to continue, then cash-strapped delegates will be able to stay in Sydney for less.
As outlined in our 2018 snapshot in the news pages of this edition, Sydney is expecting a big year. Among plenty of other events, it will welcome delegates to the Global Summit of Women, the largest international event championing women’s business and economic opportunities; the World Congress on Cancers of the Skin and International Microscopy Congress, with an expected 1500 experts in their respective fields; and in the services sector, the city will welcome the World Congress of Accountants – the world’s leading international accounting conference.
And not to be outdone, 2018 is also expected to be a big year for the incentive travel sector, with the city hosting high performers from companies including Honda, Hyundai and NuSkin.
Leading the charge is the International Convention Centre Sydney which in December celebrated its first full year of operation.
Three years in the making, the A$1.5 billion development, which comprises an industry leading convention centre, a world-class theatre and 35,000sqm exhibition space capacity, is a key component of the NSW Government’s recent suite of infrastructure projects.
NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Victor Dominello said the NSW Government is proud to see its vision for the venue come to life.
“ICC Sydney is not just an iconic destination that our beautiful, international city requires, it is also a flagship of the NSW Government to deliver world-class events to our great city. The ICC Sydney team have done an outstanding job in delivering a high number of first-class events in such a short period of time.”
Since opening in December 2016, the ICC Sydney has delivered 700 events, grown its team to 1700 employees and welcomed 1.25 million delegates, visitors and attendees to some of Australia’s – and the world’s – most highly regarded business events.
CEO of ICC Sydney, Geoff Donaghy said that in just 12 months ICC Sydney has enriched the city’s financial and knowledge economies, underscoring its reputation as one of the world’s most desirable events destinations.
“We set out to open a world-class venue, in a world-class location with a world-class team and I’m confident to say we have achieved this. Our presence has been felt on a global scale and we are well on track to contribute at least A$5 billion to the local economy in the next 25 years.”
Now, the ICC Sydney has embarked on an adventurous legacy program aimed at events it hosts create a lasting legacy for the community. (Read more about this on page 62.)
Sydney Showground shines
Twenty years ago, in January 1998, the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) took possession of the brand new Sydney Showground, moving from Moore Park to a new home in the geographic heart of Sydney at Sydney Olympic Park.
It was regarded by many as a big gamble, but has since proven to be a major achievement, with Sydney Showground now significantly more popular than it ever was.
Part of that has been achieved by its quality infrastructure and its connectivity to the city and the rest of Sydney. So much so, that many companies are now choosing to hold their meetings and events here rather than in the CBD.
Over two decades, the Sydney Showground team has had many highlights, including:
- 1998: Sydney Showground opens for business and welcomes 295 events in its inaugural year.
- 2000: Hosts Olympic sports including baseball and rhythmic gymnastics and the Media Centre for 6000 journalists.
- 2001: Gardening Live Event attracted more than 40,000 visitors.
- 2002 & 2003: Winner ‘Caterer At A Major Event’, Restaurant & Caterers Association of NSW for Excellence.
- 2003-2005: NSW Winner ‘Speciality Meeting Venue’, Meetings & Events Australia (MEA).
- 2004: 3200 guests from Woolworths entertained by Marcia Hines at the biggest dinner of the year in The Dome.
- 2004, 2005 & 2006: National Winner ‘Catering and Banqueting’, MEA.
- 2007: Sydney Showground entered the MEA Hall of Fame after winning its third MEA National Award for Catering and Banqueting Services.
- 2009: The inaugural Telstra 500 V8 Supercars drew more than 185,000 attendees over three days.
- 2010: Big Day Out celebrated its 100th Show with 55,000 people on one day.
- 2011: Sydney Showground awarded ‘Best Venue Team’ by Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) at the Annual Awards for Excellence; Winner ‘Best Venue’ – Australian Event Awards; AIMEX (Asia Pacific’s International Mining Exhibition), the largest trade show held in Australia, attracted over 17,000 visitors across four days and 100 tonnes of mining equipment.
- 2012: The Main Arena upgrade was completed, taking capacity from 13,000 to 24,000; the GWS Giants played their first home game at the Stadium.
- 2014: One of the largest international conventions to visit Sydney – the International Rotary Convention – with 19,000 delegates in attendance; the new 10,000 square metre Exhibition Hall was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Sydney Royal Easter Show; Winner ‘Best Venue’ – Australian Event Awards.
- 2015: Sydney Showground partnered with Cricket NSW to be the home of the Sydney Thunder cricket team for the next 10 years; Winner ‘Best Venue Team’ awarded by EEAA.
- 2016: Winner ‘Best Achievement in Venue Management’ – Australian Event Awards; State and National Winner ‘Banqueting and Catering’ – MEA; Winner ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ – MEA.
- 2017: International events, including the Maruti Suzuki International Dealer Incentive, Sheung Hei International Gala Dinner and the Asian Paints Incentive Dinner.
Not a bad first 20 years, with plenty more exciting announcements to come in 2018, not just for Sydney Showground but the entire Sydney Olympic Park precinct, with many more major events also scheduled.
Visit www.sydneyshowground.com.au to learn more.
Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
Back in Sydney, the all new Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour that opened in October 2017, is proving a hit with the business event sector.
The new build offers 590 stylish guest rooms including 35 lavish suites with breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour. Guests can enjoy three bars, a restaurant, executive club lounge, outdoor infinity pool and fully equipped gym.
Planners can run bespoke events in one of nine versatile function spaces seating four to 450 delegates.
The large foyer area includes a marble registration desk and offers the perfect setting for arrival receptions and catering breaks. All meeting spaces offer expansive five metre high ceilings, the latest in audio-visual technology, touch pad lighting control, and high speed internet facilities. And the planning process is made easier with the assistance of a dedicated InspiredMeetings™ Manager.
While there, be sure to check out the Champagne Bar – a sparkling and sophisticated environment offering the world’s finest champagne. Guests can indulge in vintage cuvees and exclusive bottles – including the collaboration between Roederer Champagne House and the world famous designer Philippe Starck – or intricately prepared cocktails by mixologists.
Dinners are also popular. Guests will discover a French inspired grill combining flavours of the south of France with locally sourced produce at Atelier by Sofitel. Complete the dining experience with a creative dessert and exceptional wine from Australia, France and around the world.
Organise micro-meetings at the ground-floor lobby bar, Esprit Noir, or simply sit back and relish the refined atmosphere while having a glass of wine after a long day.
Choose a Club Room or suite on levels 28 and above to access the exclusive Club Millesime Lounge located 35 floors above the city – delivering personalised service, breakfast with panoramic views over the city skyline, French afternoon tea, evening canapés, a private meeting room, and so much more.
Novotel Darling Harbour
Another popular venue in Darling Harbour is the impressive Novotel Darling Harbour, and its exceptional Events by The Ternary.
The Ternary brings an air of casual sophistication, with the unique style and personality allowing guests to experience three distinct offerings: The Grill Kitchen, The Asian Kitchen and the Wine Bar – in a single, stylish open space offering spectacular floor-to-ceiling views of the city skyline.
From the sizzle of the grill, to the flashing flames of the wok, guests are invited to share in the spectacle and sensory experience of their food being created in the restaurant’s theatre-style kitchen – enjoying its journey from pan to plate. Chefs interact with guests as they cook in front of them, immersing patrons in the energy and colour of the kitchens in full swing.
A somewhat hidden gem, The Ternary is the perfect location for a celebratory or corporate event. Whether it be an intimate dinner with friends, a corporate luncheon or an extravagant soiree, The Ternary’s celebrated service and award-winning catering offers an unparalleled experience with packages tailored to individual needs across a multitude of settings.
Utilising the stunning selection of indoor and outdoor spaces, The Ternary can accommodate up to 600 people, cocktail-style.
The Ternary’s menu has been created by Anthony Flowers, who brings 22 years of experience to the helm as director of culinary.
He celebrates fresh, top quality produce sourced locally and internationally, with an emphasis on texture and balance of flavours.
Guests are invited to mix, match and share dishes from across the three distinct menus, perfect for those dining alone, as well as groups of friends, family, or colleagues sharing some food and wine after work.
When it comes to tailored events, packages are available for more formal sit-down style affairs as well as stand-up cocktail events with canapes and interactive food stations.
The experienced beverage staff are also able to advise on food and wine pairing from the gutsy beverage list boasting a variety of local and world wines available by the bottle and by the glass.
For those wanting more, The Ternary Bar offers a range of fresh, delicious and mouthwatering alfresco-style drinks utilising the best produce and spirits available; long, short or straight up, the talented mixologists can create a tailored cocktail menu to suit any tastes. In addition, there is a vast selection of boutique craft and international beers and ciders available on tap and bottled.
If all of the above wasn’t enough, The Ternary also offers an extended service assisting with décor and theming, photography and entertainment. Complimentary Wi-Fi and parking is available on request for exclusive functions in addition to accommodation packages within Novotel Sydney On Darling Harbour.