(6.30pm, Tuesday 20 November 2012, Lower Town Hall)
Hello, everyone. Welcome to our forum. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our city.
This is our last Talking Shop for this year, and I hope it will inform you about the opportunities that will present themselves over the coming summer months.
Tonight, we have leaders from the events and tourism sectors to tell you about these opportunities, and I thank them for their time.
Sydney really comes alive in summer with events starting with Christmas then New Year's Eve, Sydney Festival, musicals, the Australia Day celebrations and the City's Chinese New Year and then Mardi Gras, all drawing people into the city centre.
There is also the increasing number of cruise ships making Sydney their destination. Between November and next April, over 260 ships are due here, bringing with them thousands of potential new customers.
Tonight, our speakers will tell you how to be prepared and what opportunities you can create for yourselves.
I'd also like to tell you that the City has begun our China Ready program, and I invite you to join us next week for the last two sessions for 2012. They'll be held on November 26 and 27 - that's next Monday and Tuesday - and you can see our staff here tonight to sign up for those sessions.
That program is directed at the hospitality, retail and tourism sectors, to equip you to assist visitors from China. You'll gain skills and expertise that will translate to action and opportunity for your business.
As part of our move to engage more with our retail community and to keep you informed we have our Talking Shop Newsletter. You can either sign up here tonight, or go to our website to add yourself to the circulation list.
We have a terrific team of people to help you, and for those of you who haven't met them, I'd like to point out:
- Andrea Beattie, our executive manager, Research, Strategy and Corporate Planning has been conducting extensive consultation with retailers as the basis for a Retail Action Plan for the City and
- Jennie Harris, Retail Co-ordinator, who works with the Retail Advisory Panel and is also available to help with any retail related inquiries you might have. Or if you have an idea to make retail better in Sydney, please let her know.
Next week, we'll be unfurling our Christmas decorations, the street flags and the wonderful Christmas Concert and tree-lighting ceremony in Martin Place and Hyde Park.
Please join us next Thursday from 6pm in Martin Place. It will mark the start of what I hope will be a successful season for all of you.
Thank you for coming this evening and I'll now hand you over to Andrea Beattie.