September 28, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier | Image credit: ICC Sydney

ICC Sydney’s 2020/2021 financial year results highlight the impact of the pandemic on the events sector while also demonstrating the appetite for face-to-face events.

Despite being subject to lockdown restrictions for just the last six days of the year, the convention centre’s financial year results were significantly down on pre-pandemic times, reflecting the ongoing restrictions on event industry activity and Australia’s international border closure. Two hundred in-person events held during 2020/2021, compared to 671 in the 2018/2019 financial year. In 2020/2021 over 200,000 people attended the venue compared to 1.4 million visitors in the last financial year which was not impacted by the pandemic.

Overall, ICC Sydney hosted 352 events in 2020/2021, of which 80 were virtual, 72 were hybrid and 200 were in person.

ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy points to May as an example of the pent-up demand which lays strong foundations for the venue’s future recovery.

“During the month of May, almost 90,000 people joined 60 events. This return to near-normal domestic activity confirmed the team’s success in maintaining client and stakeholder confidence throughout the pandemic.

“Managing the present has allowed us to build our future. We expect to be back to delivering spend across the New South Wales community of $1 billion annually within the next five years,” said Donaghy.

During the last financial year the ICC Sydney team also scaled up skills and infrastructure to be able to deliver hybrid and virtual events entirely in-house, on the venue’s own ICC Sydney Connect platform.

“Thanks to the support of the NSW Government and Darling Harbour Live, despite the challenges we have faced together, our experience and agility has seen the team continue to deliver success for our clients, our community and our supply chain and the strength in event enquiries leaves us optimistic for an accelerated road to recovery as soon as the operating conditions allow,” said Donaghy.

ICC Sydney is planning to reopen in October to host events for fully vaccinated people once NSW reaches its 70 percent vaccination target for the population aged 16 and over.