September 3, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio | Image: Committee for Sydney Deputy CEO Ehssan Veiszadeh (left) and BECA Deputy Chair Geoff Donaghy (right)

A coalition of peak bodies in Sydney has called on the NSW Government to include business events in the industries to reopen to vaccinated customers in October.

The coalition includes the Committee for Sydney, Business Sydney and the major accommodation and business events associations, including all members of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA).

It’s a united and unequivocal stance on vaccination and the connection to reopening events by the group which has been meeting over recent weeks to frame its position.

In the major statement issued yesterday, the Sydney Business Events Coalition spokesperson and BECA Deputy Chair, Geoff Donaghy, said that the survival of businesses across the events supply chain was at risk.

The coalition calls for a NSW Government plan to include business events restarting for fully vaccinated people and warns inaction threatens the survival of jobs across the city and regions.

“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.

“If we don’t give businesses certainty now that events can proceed, they 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 coalition’s joint statement said.

Committee for Sydney Deputy CEO Ehssan Veiszadeh 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.”

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

“Business events not only attract the brightest minds to our city to solve the world’s challenges, they are also a key driver of the local economy. Event attendees dine at local restaurants, stay in city hotels mid-week and visit our local tourism attractions.

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

The Sydney Business Events Coalition is calling for:

  • Inclusion of business events in the industries to re-open to vaccinated customers in October
  • Clearly identifying the vaccine passport process through a public health order
  • Developing a vaccine passport customer experience that translates nationally and internationally
  •  Reopening at one person per two square metres

The statement is co-signed by the CEOs of all the participating organisations.

It says that through visitor spend at business events and the deep and far-reaching supply chain flow-on, the return of business events will drive the recovery of Sydney’s economy as well as driving benefits across regional NSW.