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ICC Sydney – Innovation and communication accelerate attendee confidence

Strong leadership, a culture of innovation and a focus on sustainability at ICC Sydney have contributed to increased event attendance and economic returns to the community during the 2022 financial year, with the venue projecting a sooner than expected return to FY 2019 figures.

International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), managed by ASM Global, has reported that its event visitor attendance and visitor spend in the community have doubled since the previous financial year following the release of its 2021/22 Annual Performance Review today.

Australia’s premier convention, exhibition and entertainment venue welcomed over 470,000 visitors which delivered A$190 million in visitor expenditure across 300 events — up from 200,000 visitors and an economic contribution of A$80 million in FY 2020/2021.


ICC Sydney CEO and ASM Global (APAC) Group Director of Convention Centres, Geoff Donaghy said the efforts of the team over the first eight months of the year were rewarded in the final four months of the year when operating restrictions were eased in Sydney.

“Our ability to stay open, keep our core team engaged with clients and stakeholders while fostering a culture that enables our people to deliver new solutions to fluid challenges has delivered this outstanding result,” Mr Donaghy said.

Over the year, ICC Sydney held 300 events – 261 or 87% of those events were held in person, which included 31 events that were a hybrid of in person and online. The venue delivered the majority of in person events and welcomed most of the 470,000 plus people that attended them, between March to June 2022. Condensed largely into four months, the number of in person events was up significantly on the previous year when only 56% of events were held in person.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said ICC Sydney was already contributing to a revitalised city centre while playing a role in attracting business and talent back to Australia’s leading global city.

“ICC Sydney’s global reputation for innovation is central to its success. The venue bounced back as soon as operating conditions allowed and are set to return to contributing around A$1-billion a year to Sydney and regional communities across New South Wales,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Thousands of visitors attending events at ICC Sydney each week are filling up hotels, restaurants and retail outlets, as well as tourism opportunities. It’s great to see the CBD come alive again.”

The earlier than expected return of international events and the changing values shift of clients and attendees towards sustainable venues and communities have also played a role in keeping strong levels of business flowing to ICC Sydney.

“Pent up demand meant domestic business levels returned at pace and in volume. Add to this the return of international events and we are now forecasting a return to FY 2019 figures in FY 2025 – a year earlier than previously projected,” Mr Donaghy said.

Between March and June, ICC Sydney delivered high-impact, high-volume events, including:

  • A record-breaking INDO PACIFIC 2022 International Maritime Exposition attracted over 25,000 visitor attendances to interact with 736 participating exhibitor companies from 23 countries, across an exhibition space 11% larger than the 2019 record.
  • The Smart Energy Conference and Exhibition welcomed 3,800 in person attendees and over 90 exhibitors to the venue attracted national attendance and VIPs, including Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
  • Tourism Australia’s Australian Tourism Exchange this year was the highest selling event in its series.
  • The International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering held in May, welcomed 1,360 in person attendees, half of these were international delegates from 76 countries, plus another 500 people joined online.
  • Live entertainment events drew great numbers of visitors to the precinct including ICC Sydney’s longest running event Guy Sebastian’s T.R.U.T.H. Tour that attracted over 25,000 patrons to Aware Super Theatre across five shows from late April to early June.
  • Donaghy cautioned that the return to ‘business as usual’ for the international market depended on Business Events Sydney and Tourism Australia retaining the increased investment in their international marketing of Sydney and Australia, faster visa processing and the current operating conditions remaining in place.
  • Despite the operating conditions throughout the financial year, and in alignment with the ASM Global Acts worldwide sustainability and equity program, ICC Sydney’s new services and steadfast focus on more sustainable outcomes, particularly the potential to leave a positive social impact when events returned, have led to concrete results for the venue and city alike.

Donaghy added, “ICC Sydney has continued its focus on making a difference in our community and we released our second Reconciliation Action Plan, renewed our Legacy Program guide for event organisers wanting to creative positive social impacts or lighten their environmental footprint through their events with us and built on our ‘employer of choice’ position through an active diversity and inclusion program across the workforce.”

While the venue team was not immune to the broader labour and supply challenges faced globally, it has maintained both client and delegate satisfaction ratings with a 99% client satisfaction rating and a 99% delegate satisfaction rating for the year.

The new financial year will see iconic events hosted at ICC Sydney including international events MDRT Global Conference in August, the Congress of the International Academy of Pathology in October, Sydney World Pride’s Human Rights Conference in March and the International Congress of Actuaries in May.

FY2021/2022 Key Results
  • 300 events with the majority held in the four months of March to June
  • 87% percent of events held in person, up from 56% in the previous year
  • 470,000+ visitors, more than double 200,000 in FY 2021
  • 114,000+ online audience
  • A$190 million in delegate spending also more than double the previous year
  • 300,000 delegate overnight stays
  • A return to pre-COVID results in FY 2025 – a year ahead of expectations despite ongoing disruptions
  • 99% client satisfaction
  • 99% delegate satisfaction
  • Innovative client and speaker support solutions through its ‘Connect Hub’ one stop destination for digital event solutions.
  • International Association of Convention Centres’ global Innovation Award for ongoing first to market audio visual services.
  • ICC Sydney has broadened its ground breaking Legacy Program with new partnerships and experiences, including additional First Nations cultural service suppliers, giving event organisers more avenues to reach their corporate social responsibility objectives through their events.
  • Developing an environmentally sustainable event is easier than ever with the inclusion of ICC Sydney’s Sustainable Event and Plastic Free Event Checklists in the venue’s Legacy Program Guide.
  • The launch of its second Reconciliation Action Plan reinforces a commitment to reconciliation with Australia’s First Nations people.
  • Upskilling and innovation have inspired and retained exceptional talent throughout the pandemic.
  • Building on the venue’s ‘employer of choice’ position, ICC Sydney’s diversity and inclusion policy actively aims to employ LGBTI and gender diverse people, culturally and linguistically diverse people, parents and carers, youth and mature aged workers, Australia’s First Nations people and support those with disability in the workplace.
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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.