Turning George Street into a world-class pedestrian boulevard will enhance Sydney’s tourism experience by creating a thoroughfare to rival the great cities of Europe, Tourism Accommodation Australia (NSW) director Carol Giuseppi said today.
Ms Giuseppi said Sydney City Council plans to transform the busy street into an open plan area with wider footpaths and a light rail system would revitalise tourism in the CBD.
“This is a great opportunity to transform our city – and visitors’ opinions of it,” she said.
“George Street is currently a congested mess – taking no one anywhere fast.
“Making it more pedestrian friendly – and introducing light rail – would connect the various precincts of the CBD, while at the same time making it easier for tourists to get from an area like Circular Quay to Central or Chinatown.
“Currently, for visitors to our city it can be totally confusing as to how they get from one end to the other – we need a clear, obvious main thoroughfare that can get tourists (and locals) from A to B quickly and easily.
Hotels in the George Street area including the Hilton, Four Seasons, Rydges World Square, Great Southern Hotel, the Marque Hotel and Mantra also back the proposal and want to see consultative planning to ensure that hotels in the surrounding area benefit from the changes.
Hilton Sydney General Manager Michael Bourne said the move had his full support.
“I support the Transforming Sydney plans as I believe that the ‘pedestrianisation’ of George Street will open up its true potential to be a world class boulevard for both the local community and visitors,” he said.
Nigel Greenaway of Eureka Funds Management (owner of the Four Seasons Hotel) also welcomed the idea.
“We need to offer event delegates and tourists more reasons to come, stay and play in our city and the transformation of George Street has the potential to add to the overall experience of Sydney by providing a linkage between the harbour and the retail precinct and improving accessibility to our key attractions,” he said.