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Mice Net : February 2009
sydney & surrounds Sydney Opera House. midwives to wisdom. When people gather to discuss how to improve the human condition, all of society benefits.” Similarly, meetings provide solutions, or at the very least create discussion, which can lead to ideas, inspiration, and eventually solutions. Just ask Nigel Collin (see page 58) on how creativity can bring about effective change. This is clearly one of the reasons why the association meetings market is so robust. Not only must associations gather to assist in their funding endeavours, they bring people together to share research, and in the case of medical associations, to enhance research and search for cures or preventative strategies. Through its very position as Australia’s gateway city, Sydney can only benefit from an association’s ongoing desire to meet. Competition for association meetings globally is becoming tougher, however Mr Hutchison is confident that Sydney’s appeal as a business events destination remain strong, economic downturn or not. “We’ve weathered economic storms in the past, and the market remains quite resilient to short-term upheavals. “I spoke recently with a number of business event industry experts and media representatives to learn their thoughts on this crisis, and how they believed Sydney could best survive and thrive. They named specific industries to target, identified areas of our industry’s strength, and suggested that Asia remained a strong market for Australia. “There is no doubt that Australia will be affected by a reduction in event opportunities and a softening in terms of delegate attendance, but we in Sydney can compete more strongly and must do so. We are able to market more effectively to attract attendance because our product Sydney is exceptional. “Business Events Sydney has no intention of accepting a lesser performance and we will be working closely with our members to increase our competitive effort.” Hoteliers in strong position Another plus for the meetings sector and the hospitality industry in general in Sydney (and indeed Australia) is that Sydney has what some have called in periods of high economic activity an under supply of hotel rooms. In a recent interview with the Australian vice president of Accor, Simon McGrath, Mr McGrath said the hotel sector is not burdened with the oversupply of hotel rooms that were evident during previous downturns. Mr McGrath said creative strategies to lure visitors to hotels would, however, need to be implemented quickly. Naturally, the same can be said for the meetings sector. 110 mice.net