BY JAMES WILKINSON
The Australian hotel industry has welcomed the redevelopment of the Sydney Convention Centre and Exhibition Centre precinct, with senior association executives hailing the news as a big win for the harbour city.
Speaking exclusively to HM, Accommodation Association of Australia CEO Richard Munro said it wasn’t just welcome news for Sydney, but the state of New South Wales as a whole.
“The expansion of the Sydney Convention and Entertainment Centre is welcome news, not only to Sydney Hoteliers, but regional operators that will benefit from conference delegates dispersing for leisure activity pre and post conference,” he said.
“The increase in capacity is the right decision by the NSW Government and the reinvigoration of the Darling Harbour precinct is the perfect tonic for a sustainable business events calendar.”
Tourism Accommodation Australia’s New South Wales Director, Carol Giuseppi, said the precinct, which will include a hotel, would benefit the city on a number of levels.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to develop a ‘whole of precinct’ approach to an iconic new convention centre,” Giuseppi said.
“A revitalised convention and exhibition centre is certainly long overdue.
“Our current facility has made Sydney uncompetitive in the national and international arenas for some time so it is very important that the focus on this redevelopment ensures we are competitive on the world stage.
“The creation of the biggest convention hall capacity in the nation will go some way towards that and we look forward to a vision for the convention centre that will result in another iconic building for Australia’s only global city.
“However, we need to be aware that this will impact on demand during that period and this will lessen the pressures on hotel supply in the short term – but, it will definitely build potential in the long term,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Industry Council NSW is also praising the New South Wales Government for undertaking the AUD$1 billion project.
Tourism Industry Council NSW General Manager, Andrew Jefferies said the development was “the kind of bold vision that our state requires.”
“We are pleasantly surprised by these visionary plans which include the largest, fully integrated exhibition space in the Southern Hemisphere at 40,000 square meters, the largest meeting room space and convention hall whilst allowing for the demolition and replacement of the Entertainment Centre for premium events..
“Whilst there will obviously be some dislocation during the three year construction and development period, the end result will be a world class facility that will allow Sydney to effectively compete on the world stage for meetings, conferences and events.
“These new facilities will boost visitor arrivals to Sydney and New South Wales in line with the vision and strategies to double overnight visitor expenditure by 2020,” he said.
While supporting the plan, Jefferies said the Council “notes that more bold vision and tough decisions are required to achieve these targets, particularly the Premier’s continuing refusal to show leadership on the issue of expanded aviation capacity in Sydney”.