BEAM caught up with Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of BE Sydney at AIME in March to understand how the city has pivoted during the last two years and how it is refocusing its strengths as international business events resume.
In the interview, Lewis-Smith tells us how the speed at which the world has adopted technology became a silver lining amidst the upheaval that Covid-19 brought. She says it presented Sydney with the opportunity to work with international clients to reach a much broader audience than before.
“The pandemic allowed us to broadcast Sydney’s innovation, tourism and business brand and assets to the world, which we hope will come back full circle. The knowledge and innovation economy around the globe will want to come to Sydney to see it.
“The other great silver lining is the government has always got the true benefits of global meetings but we pivoted to the domestic market, which we hadn’t done before. In our new campaign, we built a two-way market platform for buyers and suppliers to come together and get support in the supply chain with their packages. The government also gave us a significant financial package so we could stimulate demand for the domestic market.”
BE Sydney invested in significant technology to change their work culture for the better and set themselves up for agility and any uncertainty that comes their way.
Lewis-Smith shares that 2022 will be a very strong year for domestic events, while events that were rescheduled over the last two years will take place from 2023 onwards. “Forty international events are already on the calendar, and nearly half of those are big citywide events. Most of them only want in-person experiences.”
She adds that a diversified portfolio of destinations kept Sydney in business despite missing commercial activity from China. “We are looking at the materialisation of Southeast Asian incentives in the second half of 2022.”
BEAM also finds out what success for Sydney will look like in 2022 and how the Accelerate programme will help incentivise domestic, corporates, and national associations to bring their events to Sydney.
As business confidence in Australia returns, the NSW Government has called for applications to the second round of the Accelerate Sydney Business Events Fund.
Accelerate is designed to stimulate the return of business events across Greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. The fund offers organisers up to AUD60,000 in matched funding for business events held between July 2022 and June 2023. It is part of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Package announced by the NSW Government in October 2021 and is administered by Business Events Sydney (BESydney) in conjunction with Destination NSW.
Applications are open to organisers of business-to-business (B2B) conferences, conventions, symposia, congresses, seminars, training courses and trade exhibitions to offset venue costs to the organiser. Applicants can be based anywhere in the country, as long as their business event will take place over at least one full day in an eligible venue in Greater Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong.
Applications for round two of Accelerate opened on 7 April and closes on Friday, 29 April 2022.
Full details of the programme are available at meetinsydney.com.au/offers.
More on business events in Australia… Read Australia recovery in action.