BESydney 50th Anniversary Roundtable Luncheon
For 50 years, we’ve been bringing global meetings to Sydney. What we’ve experienced and achieved during this time has been remarkable. But creating global impacts that inspire real progress isn’t a one-organisation job.
Our success has been driven by relationships – a proud network of engaged stakeholders who not only share our love for Sydney, but also recognise the value of bringing meetings here.
We wanted to celebrate this. So, in a roundtable luncheon, we brought together a small group of people who represented the many who have played a role in building this organisation – from industry CEOs and Chairs, to our own Global Ambassadors, Board Members and staff.
Here, we take a look at the key themes of the event.
The importance of partnerships and connectivity
It was Ros McLeod, Founder and Chair, Arinex who summed it up best: “If the Bureau works on its own without the support of the industry and many of us around the table, it’s a much weaker organisation than it is if it harnesses the power of all the organisations that support it.”
Essentially, this means that becoming the BESydney we are today wouldn’t have been, or continue to be, possible without our relationships with industry partners, Government, Global Ambassadors and staff.
Even when faced with funding challenges in the 70s and 80s, it was the strength of our partnerships that helped us move forward – demonstrating to Governments and the community, the contribution of the Sydney meetings industry to its home state economy.
Throughout a shared purpose beyond profits has made our partnerships stand out. Todd Coates, former CEO of BridgeClimb, talked of how our organisation shared his vision for the Harbour Bridge benefiting the city – and that our collaborations were more about promoting the image of Sydney to the world, rather than making a quick conversion.
It’s this sense of ‘winning together’ for Sydney, that has been the cornerstone of our development over the years.
The roundtable agreed that the New South Wales (NSW) Government has grown to become a strong advocate for the role of an independent body bringing together government, business, academia and the tourism sector to secure global meetings for Sydney creating economic and cultural value for the state.
The group also touched on the role of our incredible network of Global Ambassadors in helping bring the best and brightest of their world peers to Sydney. BESydney Global Ambassador Bill Bowtell AO, spoke of our commitment to attracting world-class conferences to the city – and how this not only benefits Australia’s top industry people, but also gives university students – our future global talent - access to leading thinkers and innovators, to inspire real change and connections for years to come.
The changing faces of bidding and tourism
The bidding process has changed dramatically in the past 50 years. As discussed during the roundtable, the sophisticated methods used today were born from a number of factors.
As the world cottoned on to the benefits of global meetings, the bidding industry became more competitive, with new infrastructure being built to house larger and larger meetings, and bidding processes being funded.
But over the years the tireless work we did, together with our partners in the industry, laid the groundwork for greater recognition of the value of bringing global meetings to Australia. From here, the industry started to see big changes, particularly in new infrastructure and the ability to make the most of Sydney’s inherent beauty and dynamism.
As the bidding process became more competitive, and our competitors more sophisticated, winning bids needed more than just relying on Sydney’s natural charm. A host city’s intellectual credentials and industry and research strengths became essential elements to differentiate between bids – with clients seeking a gathering place where like minds could meet, connect and create new legacies for their profession and the community at large.
Over the years, BESydney has played an important role in driving the conversation about the value of global meetings. And as we’ve grown as an organisation, we’ve helped redefine the ‘visitor economy’ – using our expertise to drive economic impacts for all levels of Government, our community and the country as a whole.
To the next 50 years
The general consensus of the roundtable? There’s no doubt that Sydney is now a leading destination for global meetings, conferences and incentives. And while the city has come a long way, we’re excited to take it further.
We want to inspire the private and public sectors to come together to showcase our innovation, intellectual capacity and place in the world. We want to see more investment in facilities that support bigger and better meetings - such as ICC Sydney – and to help strengthen the relationships between people, organisations and place.
For the next 50 years, we’re ready to take our partnerships further, create new ones and make the most of every opportunity to push Sydney forward.