January 23, 2023 | By Bronwen Largier | Image credit: Tourism Australia

Sydney will host the first Asia Pacific Hydrogen Summit and Exhibition this year, while Christchurch will welcome the American Astronomical Society next year.

NSW and Australia to have hydrogen sector spotlight in October

ICC Sydney will host an expected 3,000-plus delegates for the Asia Pacific Hydrogen 2023 Summit and Exhibition in October, after the Australian Hydrogen Council signed an MoU with the global Sustainable Energy Council.

The event, scheduled for October 26-27, adds to an already big October for Sydney, which will stage the first South by Southwest (SXSW) festival outside the USA the week prior. The original SXSW Austin attracted a hybrid audience of more than 205,000 attendees in 2022.

The 2023 Asia Pacific Hydrogen Summit and Exhibition has already secured the support of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and the NSW Government. BESydney advised on the work which secured the meeting for Sydney.

Part of a worldwide series, the event brings together governments and the private sector to advance the role of hydrogen in the global transition to renewable energy.

Applauding Sydney’s win as the meeting host, NSW’s energy minister, Matt Kean, highlighted the economic impact hydrogen could have in the years to come as the world moved towards its carbon neutral targets, centred around 2030 and 2050.

“By 2030, the green hydrogen industry can grow our gross state product by $600 million each year and by 2050 could attract up to $80 billion of investment,” he said.

Australian Hydrogen Council CEO Fiona Simon said the event would position Australia globally in the growing hydrogen sector.

“This event will be the ultimate meeting ground for global leaders, government representatives and industry stakeholders spearheading the hydrogen industry, and an opportunity to show the world that Australia is set to be a global hydrogen powerhouse,” she said.

BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith agreed.

“The local industry and government collaboration in securing the inaugural Hydrogen Summit for the Asia Pacific region is a great signal of intent of Australia’s ambitions to transition to a renewable energy superpower, placing Sydney alongside global hydrogen cities like Rotterdam and Washington DC,” said Lewis-Smith.

“Events like this are a shot in the arm for tourism, but they also stimulate progress in the city, nation and region where they are held, placing a global spotlight on our region’s hydrogen community, highlighting the incredible ideas and skills found here and adding new perspective to a predominantly northern hemisphere discussion.”

The event is expected to generate $2.7 million in direct expenditure for the NSW economy.

Christchurch to host space meeting in 2024

Meanwhile, more than 500 international members of the American Astronomical Society are anticipated at Te Pae Christchurch in March next year for the Extreme Solar Systems V conference.

The five-day meeting will focus on the study of exoplanets outside our solar system and will include a visit to the largest dark sky reserve in the Southern Hemisphere, the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, which is one of only eight worldwide.

The successful bid was supported by ChristchurchNZ and Tourism New Zealand and will see delegates travelling from North and South America and Europe. The host association is based in Washington DC, on the US east coast.

Head of business events for ChristchurchNZ Megan Crum said hosting the conference would boost Christchurch’s international reputation as a knowledge and experience hub and leave a legacy for the Christchurch region.

“Our vibrant, intelligent small city is the full package in a bucket-list destination. Excellent flight connectivity into New Zealand’s second largest airport makes it attractive to international experts for many reasons,” said Crum.

“The wider Canterbury region is home to New Zealand’s premier astronomical research centre, The University of Canterbury Mount John Observatory set within Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. This is a chance for them to see systems that can only be viewed from the Southern Hemisphere. Just three hours’ drive, Christchurch is an ideal knowledge hub for this conference.”

The event manager for the American Astronomical Society, Lisa Arnold, said that Christchurch was a unique proposition for the conference’s attendees.

“Christchurch is not just another big city that could be anywhere in the world, but a destination with a real point of difference for delegates. It will be a lifetime experience for them to meet with local academics and they will have incredible opportunities for pre and post touring and field trips,” she said.

The event is expected to inject NZ$1.1 million into New Zealand’s economy.