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Visitor economy forum in Western Sydney highlights accommodation need

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Visitor economy forum in Western Sydney highlights accommodation need
Ahead of Sydney’s second international airport opening, the forum drew big names to discuss key issues.

Hosted by the Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce and Blue Mountains Tourism, speakers at the all-day forum called for more high end accommodation while the CEO of BESydney, Lyn Lewis-Smith, flagged the incentive opportunity ahead for Western Sydney.

Much of the near-term opportunity is being catalysed by the Western Sydney International Airport, set to open at Badgerys Creek in 2026 with immediate capacity to service 10 million passengers per year.

 Alongside Lewis-Smith, speakers at the Lights On Western Sydney Visitor Economy Forum included CEO of Destination NSW, Steve Cox, Simon Hickey, CEO of Western Sydney Airport, Scott Boyes, CEO of the recently formed Trilogy Hotels, which has just taken over the management of Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains, Charles Young, the general manager at the Fairmont property, Anthea Hammon, managing director of Scenic World in the Blue Mountains, and Michael Rodrigues, the 24 hour economy commissioner for the state.

Both Hickey and Cox said more accommodation was needed to service the expected influx of millions of visitors when the new airport opened, with Cox specifically highlighting the need for more premium accommodation as well as large event venues.

Currently, as far as micenet is aware, just one hotel has been announced around the new airport precinct, the Courtyard by Marriott Western Sydney Airport. However, another significant Western Sydney opening will be the InterContinental Parramatta, expected in 2025 with 200 rooms and over 900m2 of event space. The 153-room Pullman Sydney Penrith also opened last August, along with the accompanying Western Sydney Conference Centre, which was also the venue of last week’s visitor economy forum.

Lewis-Smith said Western Sydney could capitalise on potential incentive business from Asia and India once the airport opened. However multiple speakers at the forum said Western Sydney needed more visitor attractions.

Blue Mountains Tourism president Jason Cronshaw didn’t believe the region was ready yet for the visitors that the airport would bring.

“We need more product – beds, tables, activities – and a co-ordinated plan,” said Cronshaw.

“But events like Lights On Western Sydney will enable the industry to grow together to make sure we are ready.”

There is to be another Lights On Western Sydney Event in October. More than 220 people attended Friday’s event.

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