In a critical step forward, International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) has today announced that the venue has received an exemption to hold corporate events and conferences for up to 1,500 people in its Convention and Exhibition Centres, following approval from the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Health. Corporate events, including conferences, meetings, AGMs, awards and banquets, will be subject to one person per four square metres and allocated to groups no larger than 300 people in Separate Areas within ICC Sydney.

The exemption is an acknowledgement of the thorough, best practice health and safety standards in place at ICC Sydney and follows the recent announcements that ICC Sydney can host uncapped exhibitions at one person per four square metres and welcome 2,400 patrons to its Aware Super Theatre.

ICC Sydney CEO, Geoff Donaghy, said the increased capacity limit for corporate events is a vital next step in recovering from the coronavirus crisis for ICC Sydney and the business events sector.

“We are pleased to receive an exemption from the NSW Department of Health, which is testament to ICC Sydney’s ability to safely resume running larger events.

“Our industry has been hard hit since March. This exemption will significantly improve ICC Sydney’s ability to attract corporate events, which is essential for the wider recovery of Australia’s business event’s sector – worth over $36 billion annually to our economy”.

Following the exemption, preparations are now underway to welcome back larger conferences. The first of these events to be staged at ICC Sydney will be the 43rd COSPAR Scientific Assembly, in hybrid format. In conjunction with a Space STEM Park, the Assembly will attract up to 1,500 local participants. A bespoke virtual platform will stream to an audience that is anticipated to exceed 3,000 attendees.

Prof. Russell Boyce, Chair of the Assembly said, “This Assembly will showcase the very best of Sydney and we welcome the news that we can host 1,500 in-person delegates now that ICC Sydney has received this exemption.”

The news comes as the border between Victoria and New South Wales opens today, allowing greater movement of people between the two states for domestic event attendance.

Coupled with this, the exemption is expected to boost the NSW economy, with direct and indirect delegate expenditure from events held at ICC Sydney set to support local businesses and regions alike.

In over three years of operations, cumulatively, ICC Sydney has generated over A$2 billion in delegate expenditure for the state economy and hosted 3.5 million visitors, who have created 4 million overnight stays in Sydney.

Donaghy added, “We are committed to maximising the flow on benefits for businesses up and down our supply chain as events progressively return. We will do this through our direct relationships and via our Legacy Program, which is world-leading and incredibly well received by the community in Sydney and surrounding regions.”

Sydney Business Chamber Executive Director, Katherine O’Regan said this was a win for the business events sector and all of the related organisations that rely on its success.

“The events held at ICC Sydney perform a critical role in the ecosystem of our city’s economic success. Success for ICC Sydney is also success for the many professions that hone their skills through conferences, the companies that exhibit their products and services and the breadth of businesses that form the supply chain for the venue and its clients – from our farmers and winemakers to designers and event builders,” O’Regan said.

Business Council of Australia CEO, Dr Vanessa Findlay said this was momentous news for Australia’s business events industry.

“ICC Sydney is a powerhouse of the national business events sector, which collectively contributes $36 billion to the national economy. The decision to allow gatherings of 1,500 people for corporate events at ICC Sydney, is testament to the confidence that the team has been able to build with its government partners,” she said.

All events held at ICC Sydney will continue to be delivered in line with the venue’s EventSafe Operating Guide which integrates parent group ASM Global’s rigorous Venue Shield program, while meeting NSW Government regulations.

To ensure the safe running of events in an environment transformed by the coronavirus pandemic, ICC Sydney has made operational changes including:

  • Limit of 1,500 people in groups of 300.
  • Separate entrances and exits for each group of 300 people.
  • Check-in and Service NSW contact tracing information collection.
  • Regular cleaning of high-traffic and high-touch areas with hospital-grade disinfectant.
  • Hand sanitiser stations in all paths of travel, frequently accessed areas and near bathroom facilities.
  • Covid-19 safety training for all operational, frontline and contract staff, as well as on-site Covid-19 Safe Hygiene Marshals.