Two of Australia's cities have reason to celebrate, following the
return of exhibitions at the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC
Sydney), and thousands of delegates attending events at the Gold Coast
Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) in October.
Currently, ICC Sydney is open and hosting a range of in-person,
virtual and hybrid events such as the upcoming Convening Asia Pacific –
The Global Recovery Forum on 10 November. Capacity limits on exhibition
have also been removed (as of 2 November), although reopening is subject
to one person per four sqm of space, according to advice from the New
South Wales (NSW) Department of Health.
Sydney's exhibitions sector is a vital one, where in a typical year,
delegate expenditure contributes AU$340 million (US$247 million) to the
At ICC Sydney, this market "accounts for approximately one quarter of
our turnover, which in a typical year can be up to 70 events, so this
update is a significant step forward for the business events industry
following the impact of COVID-19," said ICC Sydney CEO, Geoff Donaghy.
This restart will definitely impact suppliers up and down the
business events supply chain, since "attracting investment through trade
events and exhibitions keeps people in jobs and is a key driver to our
economic recovery," said Gabriel Metcalf, CEO, Committee for Sydney.
Already, two exhibitions have been confirmed — the Reed Gift Fairs
and Life Instyle — both happening in February 2021, over four days. The
expected economic impact? In excess of AU$30 million, say event
"Trade events and exhibitions have always been places where entire
industries come together in one place to celebrate what they do, build
connections and, of course, trade. The flow-on benefits of this are
substantial and we hope this update will be the catalyst for the
recovery of other industries," said Reed Exhibitions managing director,
Gold Coast, Queensland is also reporting positive demand — and confidence — in face-to-face meetings.
Last month, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC)
welcomed thousands of delegates attending conferences, business
meetings, fundraisers, school graduations and formals — just four months
after the venue received approval to operate under its site-specific
Covid Safe Plan in June.
From 13-16 October, the School Business Managers’ Association,
Queensland (SBMAQ) state conference recorded more than 600 in
attendance, who took part in plenary sessions, masterclasses, an
exhibition, daily themed dinners and even a gala awards event. This was
quickly followed by the Local Government Association Queensland
Conference from 19-21 October, which welcomed more than 500 delegates
and 85 exhibitors.
All events were held under the scrutiny of GCCEC's Covid-safe plan,
which covers conditions of entry, record keeping, social distancing,
deliveries, food service, team wellbeing and event-specific
What participants don't know is that hosting events right now
requires "a lot of additional work" from the venue. According to GCCEC
general manger, Adrienne Readings, this includes extra deep cleaning,
COVID marshalling, labour-intensive food preparation and service,
monitoring traffic, flow and messaging, and record keeping.
Still, it's all worth it.
“The response to these events has been overwhelmingly positive from
all stakeholders and it’s really encouraging to see people back meeting
and networking at the centre,” said Readings.
For the final two months of 2020, GCCEC has already confirmed several
graduations, formals, networking breakfasts, two more conferences and