SYDNEY, Australia -- Sydney is "putting on its party clothes" for
the 2000 Olympic Games, said Sandra Chipchase, general manager of
marketing for the Sydney Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"Everywhere you look there is something new and bigger and
better," she said. "Even the domestic market is amazed at the
changes taking place."
This city of 4 million people opened a light-rail system last
year. The Sydney Convention & Exhibition Center and Sydney
Airport are undergoing expansion. The first casino opened in 1997,
the first IMAX cinema a year ago.
Recent months have seen the opening of cultural and arts
attractions and a restaurant and retail complex at Darling Harbour.
Fox Studios will open a movie attraction for tourists in June.
Visitors can now climb atop Sydney Harbour Bridge or cruise the
harbor aboard the newest and largest sightseeing vessel built for
Australian waters. Older landmarks, meanwhile, have reached
milestones: The Sydney Opera House celebrated 25 years, and the
Sydney Convention & Exhibition Center celebrated its 10th
And, of course, Sydney has the Homebush Bay complex, site of the
2000 Olympics. The complex is more than 70% complete. Homebush
houses sports and meetings centers and a visitor center. (See story
The first 10 months of 1998 showed a 24% increase in Sydney's
North American arrivals, according to the Australian Bureau of
Statistics. Chipchase claims aggressive marketing is paying off,
with North American growth almost making up for Asian decline.
She conceded, though, that good exchange rates and lower air
fares have played a part. The CVB expects 200,000 international
arrivals for the Olympics, to be held Sept. 15 to Oct. 1.
Cartan Tours, the Games' official U.S. ticket agent, began
selling tickets and packages in mid-March and expects its allotment
to sell quickly. Chipchase said another 3,500 hotel rooms will be
added to Sydney's 25,000 rooms in time for the Games.
"Maybe the rest of the world does not know how seriously we are
taking the Games," she said. "We are excited, and we know the event
is a great opportunity for us."
In other developments, the Sydney Convention & Exhibition
Center at Darling Harbour will complete a $34 million expansion in
September. The project, which will expand capacity by 12%, includes
additional auditorium and banquet halls, each for 1,000 people, and
more exhibition space.
Sydney Airport's international terminal is undergoing a $240
million expansion, set for completion in April of next year. It
includes 10 additional aircraft parking positions, a 40% increase.
An additional $78 million is being spent on the terminal's
renovation. Work on the domestic terminal includes a $24 million
Also opening in time for the Games will be a six-mile
underground railway linking the airport and the city. The new
light-rail system connects such tourist areas as Chinatown and
Paddy's Market, Darling Harbour and the convention center, the
National Maritime Museum, the Star City Casino and the Sydney
Sydney already has a monorail, popular with tourists, that links
Darling Harbour with the central business district, a 14-minute
circuit with a train every four minutes.
Homebush Bay complex serves conventioneers, tourists,
SYDNEY, Australia -- Homebush Bay is already operating as a
sports, business and tourist center.
Its Sydney Showground and Exhibition Complex, home of the Sydney
Storm baseball team, opened early last year. Homebush's visitor
center and gardens are open daily.
Olympic Boulevard, one mile long, and other main avenues were
also completed last year.
Stadium Australia, opened in February, was built at a cost of
more than $400 million and holds more than 100,000 people.
Only three of Homebush's major projects have yet to be
completed.A 19-story hotel and conference center -- with two Accor Asia
Pacific hotels, a Novotel and an Ibis, totaling 318 rooms -- will
open in January.In September, the Sydney Superdome will open. The arena will be
equipped with conference and event facilities, including a
1,000-seat banquet hall.The Olympic Tennis Center will open the same month.
Homebush formerly housed only the State Sports Center for
track-and-field events. The center has been expanded and remodeled.
Homebush is located 20 minutes west of the city and is twice the
size of Sydney's central business district.
New tourism attractions await visitors
SYDNEY, Australia -- Visitors attending the 2000 Olympic Games
will find a range of new attractions here.Cockle Bay Wharf, a restaurant and retail development, opened
on the city side of Darling Harbour in December.The National Aboriginal Cultural Center opened in July.At Circular Quay, the Customs House reopened in December as an
arts and cultural center after a $14 million restoration.In November, a company called BridgeClimb began offering
visitors the chance to climb Sydney Harbour Bridge. The three-hour
experience brings climbers to the bridge summit, 462 feet above sea
level.Near Paddington, Fox Studios will open its new complex in June.
The facility will offer tours plus meeting space with high-tech
equipment.Captain Cook Cruises has a new flagship vessel, the $6 million,
700-passenger Sydney 2000. With four decks and capacity for groups
of 200 or more, the vessel was designed for the meetings and
incentives market. The company has nine other vessels that operate
sightseeing cruises in Sydney Harbour.