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Q&A with BESydney’s Lyn Lewis-Smith


Q&A with BESydney’s Lyn Lewis-Smith

With an “unbeatable lineup” of events set for 2023 and a series of recent bid wins, it’s no wonder the CEO of Business Events Sydney is excited about the year ahead.

Business Events Sydney recently announced a series of international bid wins for the harbour city – congratulations! – so is it safe to say that business events are back?

Business Events are definitely back! We have been on a roll of bid wins and more importantly, seeing the events taking place in Sydney and the buzz of having delegates from all over the globe back in town. It’s so gratifying to see BESydney’s robust event pipeline continue to grow with 267 events confirmed and estimates of $540M in expenditure into the local economy through to 2029.

And 2023 has an unbeatable lineup of events that is going to take Sydney to the next level. From the Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference in March and Vivid in May/June, to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in July and US festival South by Southwest (SXSW)’s inaugural event in Sydney in October, along with major business events like FDI Dental Conference and World Conference on Family Doctors (WONCA), it is going to be a massive year for Sydney. This year we are seeing a lot of events from the health and life sciences space.

Tell us about BESydney’s vision and goals for 2023. After a few tough years, are you gearing up for brighter days ahead?

We are really excited about the direction BESydney is taking, we are focused on what we can achieve in the world and how we can influence global change through social impact that starts right at the beginning, at the bidding stage.  We want to be part of the change we want to see in the world – to make a difference.

We are also very forward-focused as we see the evolution of our city and the changes that will have for visitors and delegates alike — from the new Sydney Fish Markets [opening in 2024], the new Darling Harbour redevelopment and the Westmead Health Precinct to the new 24-hour International Airport in Sydney’s west at the foot of the world-heritage listed Blue Mountains.

Our precincts are unique districts that are making real change and attracting global talent for the exchange of ideas which grow our local and regional knowledge economy.

We see BESydney’s future as being a catalyst for real change and we want to use our unique position to create lasting positive impact. We are working with industry and city partners to focus on sustainability in Sydney and we’re passionate about what we can do for the city, our country and the world.

We heard Amway Indonesia was recently in town. Can you tell us a little bit about their programme? What did they get up to? What feedback have you received from delegates?

The Amway Indonesia enjoyed a range of activities including visiting Taronga Zoo, a dinner cruise on The Jackson, a sailing regatta on the harbour, BridgeClimb and a city tour as well as a range of dining experiences.

Feedback from delegates and event owners was very positive and there was a consensus that the trip was enjoyed by all and was a success.

Amway Indonesia special events assistant manager, Sorin Widjaja, added: “Everyone who attended this event will have great memories to take back and share with other people in Indonesia.”

What is it about Sydney that continues to attract big brands/groups to the city to forge new connections?

Sydney is an incredibly welcoming city, and we know people come to Sydney and return to Sydney because of how welcome and safe they feel.  We are very proud of our diversity, equity, and inclusion offering.

We have a rich First Nations culture, and we are so proud of how that features in our events from our Welcome to Country, our myriad First Nations speakers and the rich cultural aspects that can be experienced throughout the city.

From the new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection at the recently opened Art Gallery of NSW to bush tucker tours through Sydney’s Botanic Gardens or climbing the Harbour Bridge with a First Nation’s guide there is so much to explore in Sydney from a business events perspective.

What can local event planners look forward to seeing in the city this year?

In addition to the diverse development taking place across the city, there are many new hotels opening this year as well as a new harbour cruise and ‘secret bar crawl’ of Sydney. New hotels include Manly Pacific, part of Accor’s M Gallery collection, The W hotel Sydney and Capella Sydney, which is set to open on 15 March.