New report shows Sydney is revived and alive after dark

Following the impact of Covid and years of lockdown restrictions, Sydney is once again beginning to glow after dark.

The Council of Capital City Lord Mayors has released results that reveal Sydney’s night-time economy is beginning to get its mojo back.

The Measuring the Australian Night Time Economy Report says there has been a notable boost across the retail, accommodation, food, drink and leisure and entertainment sectors.

The number of drink businesses in our area has grown by 10% and revenue has increased by 12% too. Photo - Katherine Griffiths, City of Sydney.

The report covers the 2021/2022 financial year – a period partially impacted by the pandemic and lockdowns – with an uptick in numbers and turnover for Sydney’s night-time economy.

Highlights from Sydney’s economic performance at night include:

  • Overall establishments grew by 17% from pre-pandemic levels to 5,941 with a sales turnover of $4.7 billion – an increase of 4% from pre-pandemic levels.
  • Accommodation grew by 19% to 557 establishments, increasing employment by 8% and turnover to $1.2 billion annually.
  • Retail increased by 6% to 2,678 establishments, increasing employment by 7% and turnover to $5.6 billion annually.
  • The leisure and entertainment sub-sector grew by 14% to 1,118 establishments with a sales turnover increasing by 4% to more than $1.2 million.
  • The number of food businesses grew by 4% to 4,088, reporting a 6% increase in turnover to $2.7 million.
  • The number of drink businesses grew by 10% to 735, reporting a 12% increase in turnover to $809 million.
  • Employees working in the food sector rose by 7% to almost 21,000.

It’s heartening to see the trajectory of these results as we want to keep our city safe, open and welcoming for everyone at all times of day - Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO

Part of the success of Sydney’s results can be attributed to measures the City of Sydney put in place over the past few years to help boost business and the economy.

We're expanding outdoor dining and have waived more than $5.3 million in outdoor dining fees to support businesses. Photo: Katherine Griffiths, City of Sydney.

Our outdoor dining program launched in November 2020 and we’ve since approved 679 applications and waived more than $5.3 million in footpath dining fees. Given the success of the program, we’ve extended it until December 2024 and waived outdoor dining fees until June 2025.

We awarded approximately $3.7 million in funding to 55 nightlife businesses and creative enterprises through our night time diversification, live music and performance and precinct activation grants.

We also waived $2.9 million in rent relief for creative spaces, short term vacant properties, creative accommodation and live/work tenancies.

We produced a number of capacity building programs to help businesses adapt, innovate and thrive in light of the pandemic – 20 local businesses took part in our free, 10-week business innovation program and more than 3,600 businesses attended a 9-week series as part of our Reboot program.

Night time in Haymarket. Our precinct activation grants are helping bring the city to life after dark. Photo: Katherine Griffiths, City of Sydney.

“For years our communities have told us they want a vibrant night-time city where businesses big and small can flourish," Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO said.

“The report highlights an opportunity for businesses to extend, improve or diversify their evening activities to support a more interesting and successful night-time economy.”

Discover more about our city's economy with our quarterly City Insights snapshots.

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