Vivid Sydney boosts city’s international credentials

By June, 2016 Local, State
GovNews takes a peak at Vivid Sydney 2016 and the big benefits that it has on the local and state economy as a result of public and private cooperation.

Image: Steven Young.

Vivid Sydney is on again.

Over the past eight years, the event has grown to become an internationally recognised festival that demonstrates what can be achieved with government and private sector cooperation.

This year’s event is expected to be the biggest and best yet with additional locations such as Taronga Zoo and the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

For those who might not be initiated, Vivid Sydney is an annual outdoor lighting festival with immersive light installations and projections in Sydney.

GovNews spoke to Sandra Chipchase, Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer and Executive Producer of Vivid Sydney about its factors for success.

“Vivid is the ultimate major event. It helps achieve three core policy objectives: it reinforces Sydney’s positions as the creative services hub of the Asia Pacific, it drives tourism not just for Sydney but for regional NSW; and it generates business networks and jobs.

“Last year the festival attracted a record 1.7 million attendees with more than 26,000 international visitors who came on Vivid Sydney travel packages. Some $63 million was generated in visitor spend, that’s without the multiplier effect [to the broader economy],” she said.

“There three key success factors for an event of this scale. Firstly, you have to whole-of-government support from police to NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, transport and landholders. Then you need a decent budget and the right commercial partners. Thirdly, it’s essential to have the right management structure that can deliver Return on Investment (ROI) to stakeholders and taxpayers.

“Overall, the event has to be inclusive and have a broad appeal; if it’s just about tourism or the creative industries it won’t work. Vivid is where art and commerce and ideas all intersect. You must allow artistic freedom, but you have to have commercial reality. Vivid has struck the right balance,” Ms Chipchase said.

The festival has also become a platform for a range of other events and activities that use Vivid Sydney as a focal point. For examples, people who visit Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week will also visit Vivid. Evidently, Vivid acts as an additional drawcard.

“This year we are hosting 80-100 international media and 150 travel buyers over the 23 days and nights. It’s a way for us to hero the destination to a broad audience that will bring economic benefit to Sydney and beyond,” she said.

Destination NSW works with a broad range of stakeholders including sponsors and educations institutions.

“We also look at non-business contributors,” she continued. “We have three educational institutes involved, The University of Technology, Sydney; the University of New South Wales; and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with students designing light installations.

“It just shows what government can do and what collaboration can be delivered when everyone is coming from the right place,” Ms Chipchase said.

A distinctive feature of this year’s event is the indigenous art is showcased through a display of Australia’s ancient Songlines that are projected on the Sydney Opera House sails. An animation inspired by the ancient dreaming tracks, Songlines features the work of six Indigenous artists.

Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW and runs from 27 May to 18 June.

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