2010s: Recipe for success: challenging convention and thought-leadership
Australia’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, came to power. The global population reaches 7 billion people. The Paris Climate Agreement was forged, 195 countries agree to curb emissions and take common climate action. Australia legalises same sex marriage. Instagram was launched, taking the proliferation of social media in our lives to new highs.
During the 2010s, Business Events Sydney continued to build on its leadership position in the global meetings industry. Not content with simply doing what had always been done; the company entered the new decade with a clear goal to become recognised as a formidable competitor among the world’s premier destinations for global meetings. For the company, this was the era of challenging convention and increasing leadership: changing the conversation about the true value of global meetings.
GROUND-BREAKING RESEARCH: THE STORY OF LEGACY BEGINS
With a vision to change the way the global meetings sector did business, the company kicked off the decade with a Beyond Tourism Benefits study series with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) which quickly gained recognition as a game-changer for the sector. Over the next decade, partnering with UTS, the company released five research pieces.
No longer content with its value being restricted to the simple expenditure global meetings generated in a host destination, Business Events Sydney could now prove there was more to the story. And they were determined to not only drive this added value, but also to ensure a new conversation was happening at every level of industry, academia, and importantly – government. It was time for change.
Despite the known, far-reaching and long-term impact of global meetings, their value to a host city and country was traditionally only measured in terms of “tourism dollars” – the immediately visible expenditure of a business tourist staying in a hotel, eating at restaurants and site-seeing during their visit. And while the economic contribution of tourism to the host destination is certainly significant, it presents an extremely narrow view of the broader legacy impacts on a whole field of study or industry sector including global innovation, education, networking, trade, research and academic practice.
Measuring the true impact of global meetings – once a pipe dream - was fast becoming an industry standard. This has resulted in Business Events Sydney being known as trailblazers and a driving force for change and disruption to the status quo for the global meetings industry.
SYDNEY’S REVOLUTION AND REINVENTION
As the decade turned, the city welcomed more global meetings than ever before. This rise in popularity was starting to impact capacity. Meetings were growing, and coming in greater numbers, but something had to give. The city’s meetings industry rallied to support a bid to build a new convention centre – the largest in the Asia Pacific.
In 2014, the Sydney Entertainment and Exhibition Centre was demolished, and the city prepared to welcome the world’s largest international meetings. In 2016, the state-of-the-art International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) opened on the site of its predecessor – harbourside, and right in the thick of all the action.
As a city, Sydney was undergoing significant growth, and the state government had embarked on one of the most ambitious programs of infrastructure developments in its history, all with the aim of supporting a city where it was easy to live, work and play. The Barangaroo headland was developed, providing a fitting western harbour balance to the world-renowned Bennelong Point, graced by the world heritage listed Sydney Opera House. The opening of the Barangaroo development created a new financial services district right on the harbour, also bringing with it a booming new dining, entertainment and leisure precinct – right at the doorstep of the new Convention Centre. New premium hotels were opened, including the Sofitel Darling Harbour, the old monorail was demolished, and new transport networks planned to open up the city even further. Then the biggest news of all – Sydney was to get a new 24-hour international airport in its western heart.
For Business Events Sydney, the highs and lows of a city without its major convention centre was also an opportunity to show the world exactly why Sydney is one of the world’s premier meetings destinations. The whole city pulled together to win and host global meetings, and anticipation grew.
50 YEARS ANTICIPATING TOMORROW
By the end of the decade, the company transitioned fully to its professional services offering, this time shedding “events” entirely, and BESydney was born. Meetings secured by the company brought in over $1 billion direct economic impact for the state of New South Wales in just five years (as at November 2019), and incentives out of Asia made up 50 per cent of its business for the first time.
Celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2019, BESydney closed out the decade showcasing its flare for innovation, taking out the ABA100 Winner for Business Innovation in The Australian Business Awards.
BESydney Chair, The Hon. Bruce Baird AM, said, “BESydney is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and business innovation has been the cornerstone of the organisation’s success over the decades. It has enabled them to stay ahead of the curve, delivering for their clients and the Government and industry that sustain them.”
50 years ago, it was easy to think of Sydney as a city on the periphery of the world. But as technology revolutionised the way the world travels, Sydney grew ever closer – and the world was quick to get on board.
At BESydney, we’ve been driving a global embrace of our innovative, connected, magnificent city. By attracting remarkable meetings, we give Sydney the opportunity to show its many sides, creating impact at home and abroad that drives real change and creates genuine progress.
Now 50 years on, we’re seeing more bright minds meeting here, and more brilliant ideas taking off. Like our international visitors, we’ve come a long way – and we’re proud to say our story is just beginning.