Yesterday’s announcement by the NSW government promising to “turbocharge the recovery of tourism and events” has been generally welcomed by the event industry; however, as usual, the devil will be in the detail. The big question will be how long this funding will be available for. Events are planned months and years in advance.
Regular festivals such as Bluesfest, Sydney Festival, Vivid, Royal Easter Show, etc start planning their next festival before the current one has been delivered, while international conferences are planned years on advance. So to set up a new festival, expo or conference can take years of planning. Will they qualify?
It is pleasing to note that this is not Sydney centric funding, with considerable amounts allocated to regional tourism and events
ASE has quickly gathered responses from a cross-section of the event industry.
A great outcome for Sydney’s business events industry – BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith
“The funding announcement was a great outcome for Sydney’s business events industry which has the lion’s share of the events market and could therefore have the biggest impact in restarting the economy, as we build back.
With restrictions continuing to ease, Sydney is coming back to life and the funding will continue the positive momentum that we are starting to see. People are excited about reconnecting with friends and family and the prospect of travel as borders open. We can’t wait to see that same confidence now flow through to business and to welcome our national and global business delegates back here soon.”
Meanwhile BESydney is still winning domestic and international meetings and the forward pipeline of confirmed business is very strong, with a bid win tally at 24 year-to-date, and 98 events secured through to 2029 with a combined estimated direct expenditure of $524 million.
The funding package announcement continues BESydney’s industry support initiatives, alongside the ‘It’s got to be Sydney’ campaign which launched last year to drive domestic business whilst international borders were closed, and to provide a suite of resources on meetinsydney.com.au for decision-makers and event planners when booking in Sydney.
BESydney will administer the funding in conjunction with Destination NSW, on behalf of the NSW Government.
Advocacy pays off for the Sydney Business Events Coalition – Geoff Donaghy, Chair of the SBEC
Today’s NSW Government announcement of $530 million to turbocharge the local visitor economy has been well received by the Sydney Business Events Coalition.
The advocacy of the members of our group across the various government bodies, Ministerial offices, aligned association groups and all tiers of governance has not gone unheard.
The specific mention of business events in order to boost activity in the city underpins the importance of the sector in revitalisating the CBD.
While we are digesting the detail, there appear to be many elements of the overall plan that will benefit our industry:
– The Event Saver Fund will help kickstart shorter lead events that are able to run this summer.
– The Stay and Rediscover scheme supports overnight hotel stays for event attendance.
– The $150 million for major events will directly and indirectly support our events through potential for direct investment or increased viability of aligned events.
– The Aviation Attraction Fund will help support the return of those high yielding international events and international delegate attendance.
More broadly this will stimulate activity and the increased marketing of experiences in Sydney that the entire visitor economy can benefit from.
Together with the Committee for Sydney and Business Sydney, the Sydney Business Events Coalition comprises Sydney based members of the key association bodies and organisations representing business events: Business Events Council of Australia, Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, Professional Conference Organisers Association, Meetings & Events Australia, Accommodation Association, Tourism Accommodation Australia and the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux.
Longer term support needed for business events – Nicole Walker, CEO Arinex
“While we are yet to see the finer details in this announcement, we certainly welcome the NSW Government’s package as a good start in helping reboot the events industry. However there appears to be little support specifically for business events. The difficulty we face in this industry is we have a much longer lead time before events come to fruition, often as much as 2 or 3 years. Therefore, what would really assist us in rebuilding is a long-term strategy that will support us over that time, instead of simply the next few months.”
Will just this summer be enough? – Julie Briggs, Chair of Regional Arts NSW.
“We welcome this injection of funding into regional NSW to boost its recovery from the pandemic. Visitors to regional NSW want to be engaged, excited, and enthralled by the diversity of things to see and do. This can only happen if there is funding available to support the development and delivery of quality tourism products. The arts and cultural sector is fundamental to the provision of those products and we are looking forward to the opportunities this funding will bring to provide work for artists and arts and cultural organisations across regional NSW.
We are particularly pleased to see the establishment of the Event Saver Fund, this is an initiative that RANSW has advocated for with NSW Treasury.
The Fund will allow event producers and promoters to move forward with confidence knowing that there is immediate support if events are cancelled or disrupted by any Public Health orders. RANSW hopes the Fund will act as insurance for organisers, protecting them from losses incurred as a result of these cancellations.
RANSW notes that the Fund is only slated to operate for the 21-22 summer, given the time it takes to organise high quality events we are hoping that the Government may look to extend the Fund’s protection until at least the end of autumn. We look forward to seeing more details on the Fund and how it will operate.
RANSW believes that the arts and cultural sector is pivotal to a tourism and events-led economic recovery in regional NSW. We are excited to see the amazing products that will be delivered as a result of the NSW Government’s funding.”
Sometimes the squeaky wheel works – Gary Fitz-Roy, Expertise Events
“Having, along with others, submitted plans to state and federal governments outlining how we can be best supported it is encouraging that after the weekend’s announcement by the Federal Government the NSW State Government has also listened, but more importantly acted.
The devil will be in the detail and the requirements but as a top line announcement this goes a long way to helping every facet of the industry recover. Many have contributed to being recognised so I hope individual organisations don’t all line up for credit! The Treasurer and Deputy have had an eye out for our sector and I thank them, it would be good for other states and the Federal Government to equally acknowledge our sector”
And in mainstream media
Daniel Hunter, Business NSW chief executive, said it was “pleasing” the package supports businesses across the entire state.
“What is particularly pleasing is this is not a Sydney centric package but recognises that all of NSW has a part to play in the economic recovery,” Hunter said.