INTERNATIONAL Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) has released new figures revealing it has not only welcomed its two millionth visitor, but delegates and visitors attending events on site injecting more than A$1.2 billion into the local community since it opened in December 2016.

New South Wales Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall said the benefits continued to roll in as the A$1.5 billion ICC Sydney welcomed more than 65,000 visitors to the Sydney International Boat Show late last year – and those visitors were estimated to have spent a further $24 million in Sydney.

The largest recreational marine show in the Southern Hemisphere, the event featured 250-plus exhibitors and over 1,000 vessels across the venue’s entire exhibition centre and a purpose-built marina in Cockle Bay.

ICC Sydney hosted the event for the second consecutive year, following the highly successful 2017 program, which attracted 3,000 more visitors than forecast and facilitated $250 million worth of business on site.

Since opening, ICC Sydney has hosted 1,100 different events, resulting in over 2.3 million overnight stays in Sydney accommodation.

Mr Marshall has applauded ICC Sydney for its contribution to the state’s visitor economy.

“Conference delegates and event attendees at ICC Sydney have now spent at least A$1.2 billion in the NSW economy in just over 18 months,” Mr Marshall said.
“This exceptional outcome is a clear demonstration of the extensive flow on benefits the NSW Government’s investment in ICC Sydney is delivering.”

ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy said he was proud to continue elevating Sydney’s reputation as one of the world’s most desirable business event destinations and drive visitation to the heart of Darling Harbour.

“We are delighted to host the esteemed Sydney International Boat Show once again,” Mr Donaghy said. “It’s an iconic event for the entire city and also an opportunity for us to showcase the diversity and capability of our venue, while helping to stimulate the local economy.

“I am also proud to welcome our two millionth visitor. This is an opportune time to reflect on our achievements to date, which includes garnering more than 30 awards and accolades.”

Mr Donaghy said further key highlights included staging the ASEAN Australia Special Summit in a landmark occasion, hosting the 10th World Chambers Congress in Sydney for the first time last year and bringing the Reed Gift Fairs back to the heart of the city after three years absence, with a 23 percent increase.

With a raft of events set to take place in coming months, ICC Sydney is expected to continue its growth trajectory.

One of the highlights, he said, had been welcoming Sibos 2018, the world’s largest financial services event, in October where 6,000 delegates generated up to $37 million in economic benefit for the state. 

ICC Sydney also hosted 5,000 of the globe’s leading accounting professionals at the World Congress of Accountants in November, shortly afterwards.

“Our clients’ success is our success and we are focused on working in collaboration with them, our partners and visitors to deliver positive outcomes for all,” Mr Donaghy said.

“We are committed to attracting the world’s leading thinkers and innovators to Australian shores to cultivate powerful long term economic and cultural benefits that are felt in the community long after their events take place at ICC Sydney.”


ACCOMMODATION platform Airbnb has struck a partnership with Australian luxury home hotel brand, Luxico to offer new premium home stay experiences.

Almost 200 first-class properties from Luxico will now be available to book on Airbnb, including in its newly launched Airbnb Plus program.

Guests will also get access to Luxico’s bespoke 24-7 concierge and trusted property management services for travellers seeking a luxury offering.

Earlier this year Airbnb launched its premium tier, Airbnb Plus, in Sydney and Melbourne. Airbnb describes Airbnb Plus as “a new selection of only the highest quality homes with hosts known for great reviews and attention to detail”. Airbnb also introduced new categories of homes including boutique hotels, bed-and-breakfasts (B&Bs), and vacation homes to the platform. 

Airbnb country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Sam McDonagh said he welcomed the partnership with Luxico as another step towards achieving a vision of Airbnb for everyone.

“Earlier this year we unveiled a roadmap designed to bring the transformative benefits of Airbnb’s local, personal and authentic travel to every type of traveler,” Mr McDonagh said.

“As part of this, we are dedicated to working with small hospitality businesses that excel at offering the best host and guest experiences and living our mission of belonging.

“With the launch of Airbnb Plus, Luxico are the perfect partner to support this premium offering in Australia. With more and more Airbnb guests seeking homes that boast personality and seamless design, the addition of Luxico’s concierge service will help attract and meet the needs of luxury travellers on our platform.”

Luxico managing director and co-founder, Alexandra Ormerod said, “We’re thrilled to see this partnership come to life. As one of the first partnerships of this kind Airbnb has formed in Australia, we’re very excited to expand their premium listings as they diversify into new markets.”

Ms Ormerod said only the best properties were invited to join Luxico, “with a thorough vetting process to ensure suitability for both guests and owners”.

She said Luxico was recognised as one of Australia’s fastest growing luxury travel businesses, averaging 40 percent year-on-year growth since its 2013 launch.

Ms Ormerod said Luxico was recognised as one of the leaders in the luxury accommodation space across Australia’s east coast, managing exclusively marketed homes, penthouses and lodges across six key locations from New South Wales to Queensland, including popular tourist destination Byron Bay.

Further personalising Luxaco’s high-end service, last year the company acquired digital concierge service and award-winning startup, Hello Scout.


AUSTRALIAN tourism benchmarking and certification group EarthCheck is helping Swedish township Järvsö in its quest to become a global front-runner in sustainable and responsible tourism.

For a start, Järvsö and Gävleborg County regional leaders want the destination to realise the goal of achieving the highest benchmark for sustainable tourism in Scandinavia.

The EarthCheck Sustainable Destinations program will provide Järvsö with a scientific framework to benchmark, certify and continuously improve the region’s environmental, cultural, social and economic performance. The Global Sustainability Tourism Council’s criteria for destinations will be used as a policy and planning guide.

Gävleborg County Governor, Per Bill said the strategic approach would help Järvsö achieve a range of economic and sustainable benefits for tourism, local communities, the environment and cultural heritage. Järvsö, locally known as Jarse, is situated in Ljusdal Municipality in Sweden’s Gävleborg County. 

“Järvsö, as a responsible tourist destination, will be a perfect fit for our sustainable projects throughout Gävleborg,” Mr Bill said.

“Furthermore, this is a positive step for us to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

Roland Hamlin the project coordinator at Ljusdals Municipality noted that Järvsö has a strong vision and long-term commitment to sustainability and responsible tourism development. 

“Becoming Sweden’s first EarthCheck Certified Destination will add value to the way in which we market Järvsö as a lifestyle destination to visit, work, live and bring up children,” Mr Hamlin said.

“Working with EarthCheck will help us to monitor and improve sustainability and promote our achievements, as well as learning more from the best in the world.”

EarthCheck Founder and CEO Stewart Moore said places where people want to visit and live – and that are sustainable – do not happen by chance. They are a product of visionary thinking and commitment by industry and community leaders, he said.

“Achieving sustainable tourism requires collaboration, determination and systematic planning across the destination,” Mr Moore said.

“Järvsö will join a select group of leading destinations across the world that are taking a holistic and strategic approach to destination management, planning and marketing.”

Based on the fundamental belief that ‘what gets measured, gets managed’ is at the core of EarthCheck’s Sustainable Destinations Program which is built on performance based measurement. The EarthCheck program helps destinations to measure and monitor their environmental economic and social impact, and prepare and track that performance against their own targets and the performance of other destinations.

In recent years, Järvsö has made positive strides in sustainability including the development of a heritage tourism framework, train and bicycle travel network and a training platform for local operators.


NEW South Wales entrepreneurs will hear directly from successful ‘parent-repreneurs’ on how to juggle a fast-paced startup business and parenthood at an event this week.

The Balancing Parenthood and Entrepreneurship event on Wednesday, October 31, at the Spark Festival will assemble a panel of successful entrepreneurs who are parents to discuss the challenges and opportunities of navigating both roles. 

The panel of successful ‘parent-repreneurs’ will include Carrie Kwan, Peter McConnell, Edwina Sharrock and Victoria Stewart – all successful business founders with children. In tune with the event, to be held at the Sydney Startup Hub with the support of the NSW Government, is free onsite childcare for attendees.

“The average age of a startup founder in NSW is mid-30s and frequently that aligns with founders starting a family,” Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro said.

“Parent-repreneurs are not only looking for opportunities to secure their future but to ensure flexible working conditions to support their families.”
Founding, running and growing a startup business is a huge job and it can be a massive challenge,  but in many ways being a parent is excellent preparation for startup life.

The panel discussion will involve four successful ‘parent-repreneurs’ sharing advice and tips on how they balance parenthood and entrepreneurship to achieve both family and business goals, with lunch and networking to follow.

Jobs for NSW will host the event as part of its sponsorship of the Spark Festival, with free on-site childcare offered for startup parents and ‘babes in arms’ also welcome, a spokesperson said. 

Carrie Kwan is the co-founder and managing director of Mums & Co, a networking hub for Australian women entrepreneurs, who will share her passion and insights on how working parents can realise success in their startups and businesses.

Peter McConnell is executive chair at Commtract, a marketplace for communications professionals. He will share his experience of balancing a young family with two successful start-ups – one led by his wife, the other by him – including strategies for balancing primary care for his two boys and a busy executive role.

Edwina Sharrock is the CEO and founder of Tamworth startup Birth Beat, an online platform for antenatal and childbirth classes. She will share her experience on the steps she has taken to launch her start-up while being a mother of two children under six.

Victoria Stuart is co-founder of Beam Australia, an online marketplace connecting businesses with degree qualified stay-at-home parents. Ms Stuart will discuss her personal search for balance and the positive impact flexible work options are making to lives and businesses. 

Register for the event here.


SINGAPORE and Australia are collaborating on the first ‘Good Science = Great Business’ festival in Singapore in September.

The festival, delivered by the Australian High Commission, in collaboration with Austrade, CSIRO and Australia’s leading universities, will promote collaboration between Australian scientists and businesses and their counterparts in Singapore and ASEAN countries.

The festival will stage a series of high-profile events in Singapore highlighting the contribution science makes to creating future industries and growing economies in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Events will include commercialisation workshops and ‘pitch’ events for research institutions, Australian industry delegation visits to Singapore medtech and biotech facilities, a lecture series and a gala dinner featuring the Australian National University vice chancellor Brian Schmidt – the astrophysicist and Nobel Prize winner.

Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Michaelia Cash has encouraged business leaders and scientists in Singapore and Australia to join forces to secure future prosperity for both countries.

“Singapore is a key partner for Australia, being our largest trading partner in ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations), eighth-largest trading partner overall and sixth-largest foreign investor,” Ms Cash said.

“Under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, Australia and Singapore are deepening cooperation across all sectors and advancing shared interests, including in the innovation and science space.”

Minister Cash said the festival would demonstrate the Australian Government’s commitment to fostering international collaborations that would help Australian businesses grow and reach into global markets.

“Singapore is a natural partner for Australia in entrepreneurship, science and technology activities thanks to its openness to exchanging ideas and talent,” she said.

“The Good Science = Great Business festival will show collaboration between business, industry, universities and researchers in Australia and Singapore remains central to fostering vibrant innovation systems in both our nations.”


THE partnership between eBay and Coles loyalty program Flybuys is set to transform the relationship between retail, travel and brand loyalty.

With Australia’s largest online marketplace,, partnering with Australia’s most popular loyalty program, shoppers will immediately be able to earn and redeem Flybuys points with 40,000 Australian online retailers.

The impact is heading the way of a Transformers blockbuster movie – where eBay had one of its best brand exposures as part of that storyline.

From May, more than 11 million monthly unique visitors of have been able to link their accounts to Flybuys to collect 1 point for every $2 spent on eligible items across the site. There are also bonus offers, allowing shoppers to dramatically accelerate their points. 

It is the first move into loyalty rewards for, as it seeks to offer consumers a more rewarding shopping experience. For Flybuys, this partnership is the biggest expansion of the program since the addition of Velocity frequent flyer as a partner in 2016.

“We know Aussies love rewards points, and at eBay innovation is the focus for our connected community,” chief marketing officer Julie Nestor said.

“It was a no-brainer to partner with Flybuys to achieve this, as we continue to evolve our own platform in order to stay the number one online retail choice in Australia.”

More than 60 percent of Australian households who actively use Flybuys will now also be able to redeem their Flybuys points for eBay vouchers, amounting to $10 in vouchers for every 2000 points collected.

These vouchers can be used to purchase items from the hundreds of millions of items available to them through the eBay platform, Ms Nestor said.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to help our members collect and use more flybuys points and ensure they are rewarded in a meaningful and exciting way,” said Flybuys general manager Alex Chruszcz.

Research on small business retailers found that while 62 percent believed a rewards program could help their business compete with larger players, 71 percent felt a loyalty program would be too expensive to set-up and run.

“We have listened to our small business community who say that loyalty programs are something they would like to engage in but don’t have access to, which is where the power of the eBay platform comes in,” Ms Nestor said.

The research found 72 percent of eBay sellers believed a rewards program would help attract new customers, and 67 percent said it would likely increase customer spend at their stores.


INTERNATIONAL Convention Centre Sydney’s (ICC Sydney) Feeding Your Performance program is being hailed as a blueprint for innovation, delivering economic, social and environmental advances for Sydney and New South Wales (NSW).

Research released by University of Technology Sydney (UTS), reviewing ICC Sydney’s all-encompassing Feeding Your Performance (FYP) program, commended the approach and said it was a supply chain blueprint for other Australian venues and businesses. 

Embedded across ICC Sydney’s operations, the FYP program strives to ‘feed the performance’ of ICC Sydney delegates and visitors, team members, and the local economy, through a unique New South Wales-focused supply chain, a progressive sustainability approach and an industry-first Legacy Program.

The UTS report noted ICC Sydney delivered a total of $8.3 million to the NSW economy in 2017 through its food and wine purchases alone. This represented a direct investment of more than $4.3 million in a network of more than 85 NSW producers and farmers.

Overall, delegates attending events at ICC Sydney generated $785 million in direct expenditure for the state in the centre’s first year of operation.

NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Regional Water, Trade and Industry, Niall Blair applauded ICC Sydney’s approach and said the research reinforced “the venue’s reputation for innovation and excellence across the board”.

“ICC Sydney is pioneering a commercial model which is driving a triple bottom line, delivering significant economic, social and environmental gains for New South Wales, and establishing a benchmark for best practice across sectors.

“For example, ICC Sydney’s approach to working hand-in-hand with local suppliers could be adopted by other venues to provide financial security for farmers and producers, driving employment and growth opportunities in regional areas,” Mr Blair said.

“The culinary aspect of the FYP program is also showcasing the state’s outstanding produce on the global stage and creating new markets for agriculture and tourism,” he said.

ICC Sydney CEO, Geoff Donaghy said it was vitally important that convention centres measure the full impact they have on their supply chain.

“We are immensely proud to be looking beyond the borders of Sydney to feed the business performance of our suppliers as well as the communities in which they’re located,” Mr Donaghy said.

“As urbanisation increases, cities and their convention centres have a role to play in supporting the regional areas that feed them and support their event delivery. If our success is underpinned by delivering restaurant-quality produce, then we have an important role to play in supporting the supply chain that enables this.”

According to the research, other key benefits of ICC Sydney’s FYP program included supporting NSW producers and regional development; providing demand for seasonal, fresh produce that counters market volatility inherent in the food industry; driving employment growth opportunities; increasing cash flow for farmers and producers, boosting production and supporting improvements to infrastructure. 

The FYP program is also having an impact on environmental sustainability.

Mr Donaghy said ICC Sydney was able to support local producers in alignment with state government sustainability strategies, while endorsing CSR and stewardship. The program reduced ‘food miles’ and made a smaller carbon footprint while improving efficiencies. The ICC is also partnering with OzHarvest to donate unused excess food to disadvantaged members of the community – and with Sydney Water to save 775,000 plastic bottles from use, indirectly reducing gas emissions by 400 tonnes. ICC Sydney is also focusing on recycling, reduced use of chemicals, reduced waste and effective waste management. 

According to UTS there were major community benefits stemming from the FYP program.

UTS identified that it encouraged awareness and concerns for farmers and local communities; and it supported farmers to grow high quality, sustainable, and new and speciality produce.

The program proved strong at building staff morale with an inclusive recruitment program, while it also supported local and diverse communities, including First Nations peoples and businesses.

ICC Sydney’s unique multi-streamed Legacy Program provided event organisers with opportunities to partner with local organisations through four diverse streams: Innovators and Entrepreneurs, Generation Next, First Australians and Sustainable Events. 

Mr Donaghy said key to the venue’s ongoing success would be driving continuous improvement.

“In the years to come, we are committed to continuing as we’ve started, supporting further investment in agritourism, building job opportunities and facilitating growth within our network of suppliers and beyond,” Mr Donaghy said.

“This includes continuing to track impact across all sectors of the business and our supply chain so that the NSW community continues to thrive.”


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