NSW Premier Barry OFarrells decision to renew NSWs MICE image has received mixed responses, with the industry concerned the three year closure of the Sydney Convention Centre could send business out of the state.
Concerns leaked less than a day after the Premier said the Government would invest up to $1 billion in renovation of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, with many fearing the Centres 2013 closing date would see Sydney lack the appropriate infrastructure to keeps events booking in the city.
Exhibition and Event Association of Australiasia general manager Joyce DiMascio stressed that while the renewal of the Centre would be a great boost for Sydney and Australia, suitable alternatives were vital to replace the 65 large exhibitions and events that will be displaced over the three years.
We need the government to invest in suitable temporary facilities and make it as high a priority as the longer term plan, Ms DiMascio said.
You cant shut down Sydney for three years.
The companies that exhibit at these major expos are selling product.
If you take away the trade and consumer events through which they sell you impact on business, employment, sales, the NSW economy and ultimately the Australian economy.
Diversified Exhibition managing director Matt Pearce concurred, adding that the government has failed to supply clarity with a replacement that will require more than 10,000 meters of exhibition space.
If we dont have a suitable high quality space confirmed by the middle of the year we will have to make decision about where to go, he said.
If we have to move to Melbourne or Brisbane we will do so but this would be a huge loss to Sydney.
Despite the alarm, the travel and event industry across Australia has embraced the NSW, claiming the $1 billion renovation of the Sydney Convention Centre will cement the citys status as Australias number one destination for events and meetings.
Expected to reopen by 2016 with a fresh new look and feel, Business Events Sydney (BESydney) chief executive Lyn Lewis-Smith said the change presents great opportunity.
Its time to really show how Sydney businesses collaborate and innovate and how we can accommodate a growing business event sector with agility and enthusiasm, she said.
She added the BESydney would work closely with clients and the industry to ensure the world knows Sydney is open for business.
A timeline for the closure of the Centre is expected to be released once plans for the renovated space takes more shape.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J