By Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia, 6 October, 2016







After three years in their temporary home, exhibitions and events have bid farewell to Glebe Island and the 3 month operational readiness phase has kicked off at Australia’s newest business events precinct.


The Reed Gift Fair Sydney, the final show to be held at the Sydney Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island, was the last expo at the site. This marked the end of a tough but successful three years while the new International Convention Centre Sydney at Darling Harbour was constructed.


The keys to the new centre have been handed over to ICC Sydney to begin operational testing – a three month testing period before the official opening on 20 December.


The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA), the peak body representing the $28 billion business events industry, says its Members have done a remarkable job in weathering the disruption and are now looking forward to resuming business in a world-class, purpose-built centre.


EEAA Chief Executive, Joyce DiMascio, said the NSW Government and the consortia have delivered a commendable result in finishing a complex piece of infrastructure on-time.


“The past three years have not been easy but we have worked hard to ensure events and exhibitions continued to make their multi-billion dollar contribution to the State economy,” Ms DiMascio said.


“Sydney Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island has been a good experience for exhibitors, visitors and buyers but we have an exciting new chapter about to unfold.


“During the three-year construction period, Infrastructure NSW, in particular Project Director David Riches, has kept our industry fully informed of progress and that has allowed our members to have input into the project and also be reassured that the new venue would be completed on-time.”


Ms DiMascio said the business events sector which includes trade and consumer expos made a $28 billion direct contribution to the national economy with Sydney and Melbourne responsible for 60 per cent of this expenditure. Over 37 million people attended business events around the country providing close to 200,000 direct jobs.


“The Government has acknowledged the importance of exhibitions and events and sought industry input to the design of the exhibition and conference spaces. The outcome is a highly flexible venue that will allow the industry to deliver outstanding events in the future,” Ms DiMascio said.


“There is scope for more business events and that will bring additional benefit to NSW, not just in direct expenditure but generating greater trade, investment, visitor numbers, hotel nights, restaurant bookings and more.


“The impact of our industry ripples throughout the entire NSW and Australian economy.”


Ms DiMascio said the industry had shown great resilience by keeping most events and exhibitions running and organisers were now looking forward to the future.


“You cannot have bold new infrastructure without some disruption,” Ms DiMascio said. “Our aim was always to minimise that disruption and that has been made easier by the support we have received from the NSW Government with its investment in the temporary exhibition centre.


“Darling Harbour is a unique location that is an immediate draw for local, interstate and international business visitors to Sydney. We have a beautiful new facility and an exciting future ahead of us.”


The EEAA will be amongst the organisations that will put the ICC Sydney through its paces ahead of the official handover with plans to hold its annual Conference and Awards for Excellence at the venue on 29 and 30 November 2016.


Reed Gift Fairs farewells Sydney Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island

Reed Exhibitions Australia is one of the country’s largest organisers of exhibitions and events and the gift fair at Sydney Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island, where buyers have been stocking up on items for Christmas, is its last before heading back to Darling Harbour.


Managing Director, Brian Thomas, said contracts were now being finalised for their first biggest fair of the year at the new venue in February 2017 and were on track to reach capacity in 2018.


“There is a lot of interest amongst exhibitors and visitors with the return to Darling Harbour,” Mr Thomas said. “It is a beautiful building in the heart of a beautiful city so it’s understandable that there is a buzz about it.


“Logistically Glebe Island has worked well but it was tough getting the public and exhibitors to embrace the venue in the first two years,” Mr Thomas said. “We did incur some loss because the venue was not big enough to hold some of our largest events but that loss would have been far greater had we not had the temporary facility at Glebe Island.”


Boat Show back to Darling Harbour

One of Sydney’s most popular consumer events, the Sydney International Boat Show, will make a welcome return to Darling Harbour in August next year, in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary and with high hopes of a return to peak visitor numbers. For three years the Show has been split across two venues – on-water at Cockle Bay and under cover at Glebe Island.


Boating Industry Association National Manager Events and Marketing, Domenic Genua, said the first year of the relocation saw visitor numbers decline by 17 per cent and exhibitors by 20 per cent.


“We lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in visitation alone but the biggest cost was borne by the boating industry,” Mr Genua said. “This is an $8 billion industry and more than 22 per cent, or one in five sales, can be attributed to the Boat Show.


“But we got through it and survived, with the assistance of the NSW Government who provided a complimentary ferry service for Boat Show visitors. It was a creative solution to the problem and we are very grateful for the opportunity it gave us to continue trading.”


However, while hard core boaties were undeterred by a ferry ride across the harbour, the less committed curious onlookers stayed away.


Mr Genua is looking optimistically to 2017 and has selected show dates through to 2025.


“The return to the new venue has created a lot of interest from exhibitors who opted out as soon as we left Darling Harbour,” Mr Genua said. “We are looking forward to rebuilding to our former glory when we were turning over $5 million an hour at the show.”



Source: Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia