International Convention Centre Sydney

Sydney’s cultural capital on the rise through benchmarked report

27 Mar 2024

International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), managed by ASM Global, applauds urban think tank Committee for Sydney’s “Benchmarking Sydney 2024” report released this week.

Benchmarked against nine peer cities, Sydney’s star has continued to shine as a cultural, innovative, sustainable and equitable metropolis that is best placed to welcome visitors to major citywide activations or to a range of events scheduled across ICC Sydney’s calendar – from SXSW Sydney to the Global Nature Positive Summit, INDO PACIFIC International Maritime Exposition, 76th International Astronautical Congress 2025, Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS), Nick Cave or James Taylor.

Sydney’s cultural landscape has grown in stature as it ranked third against peer cities Amsterdam, Barcelona, Stockholm, Miami, San Francisco, Toronto, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore. More than its attractiveness as a tourist destination known for its climate, beaches, iconic landmarks and natural beauty, Sydney has firmly established its reputation as an innovative and cultural hub that has seen an increase in international event attendees extending their visit. The report reveals that Sydney also has the highest return rate for travellers, reflecting the diversity of experiences the city offers.

The report details Sydney’s growing distinct cultural and night-time economy that is underpinned by its multicultural diversity. The city is among the top 25 out of 100 cities for diversity of cuisine on offer – as reflected at ICC Sydney with its world-renowned culinary service that heroes local, fresh and seasonal produce for the visitors that pass through its doors each year. Sydney ranked 17th out of 100 cities for its range of night-time economy venues and the city was one of only four peer cities to be publicly rated a top 30 destination for music lovers.

ICC Sydney CEO and Group Director – Convention Centres, ASM Global (APAC), Geoff Donaghy said business and entertainment event attendees were already reaping the rewards of Sydney’s inclusive culture and approach to sustainability while attending events at ICC Sydney.

“ICC Sydney serves as a beacon for positive cultural experiences – introducing visitors from all over the world to the energy and dynamism of Sydney and its surrounds.

“Through our Legacy Program that supports event organisers to meet their corporate social responsibility objectives, ICC Sydney has long contributed to the strong cultural capital of Sydney – welcoming millions of people to inclusive, accessible, sustainable and innovative events,” Mr Donaghy said.

In terms of city productivity and its future economy, Sydney ranked first out of 10 for retention of digitally skilled graduates, first out of eight for highly ranked engineering and computer science degree programmes and third out of nine for all-round availability of skilled talent.

Sydney is a city with significant natural assets with major national parks, waterways and its extensive coastal shoreline provides recreational places and economic infrastructure that are attractive to international visitors. Sydney ranked first out of 25 cities for how many people live within walking distance of green space (>90%). The city’s natural systems, including the endemic landscaping introduced as part of ICC Sydney’s development has produced positive local biodiversity results, and helped to secure Sydney’s second place rank among peer cities from a nature positive perspective.

Jeremy Gill, the Committee for Sydney’s Head of Policy, said: “Sydney’s bursting with potential, we have globally competitive tech and engineering sectors, our cultural production is at an all-time high, and we’re in the middle of a wave of major policy reform and infrastructure delivery.”

“Sydney’s well and truly back as a magnet for visitors, supported by major drawcards like ICC Sydney for business event travellers. We’re seeing an impressive rebound in visitor numbers by international standards with strong repeat visits.

“The results show we’re making the right moves on Sydney’s most pressing challenges, it’s time for us to get the message out to the rest of the world, and attract the visitors, global talent and investment that will help drive the next stage of our city’s growth.”

ICC Sydney is an ‘Innovation Fund Partner’ of the Committee for Sydney providing essential core financial support to fund the Committee’s annual research program.