Visitors and customers

Harris Street

Available studies suggest Harris Street village receives significant visitation from elsewhere in Sydney, interstate and overseas.

The tourism facilities of the village make it an attractive area for international visitors, and also support night-time visitation.

Furthermore, the proximity to Darling Harbour and the city centre, supports growth in the overnight visitor market. 

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Pyrmont visitor profile

A customer intercept survey in Pyrmont, conducted in 2014 for the City of Sydney, provides an understanding of the types of visitors to Harris Street village and their behaviours.

The intercept survey was conducted solely in Pyrmont, in the northern portion of Harris Street village. As shown in Table 11, the majority of survey respondents were from Pyrmont itself. The second largest segment was visitors from overseas, representing 14% of all respondents. Interstate visitors also represented 5% of those interviewed. The relatively high proportion of non-Sydney visitors is driven by the proximity of the village to the city centre and Darling Harbour and the presence of leisure and tourism facilities in Pyrmont such as The Star and Powerhouse Museum.

Table 11 – Pyrmont Intercept Survey, Origin of Respondents

Customer Place of Residence 2014
Pyrmont 46%
International 14%
Western Suburbs 10%
Inner City 9%
Inner West 6%
Interstate 5%
Eastern Suburbs 4%
North Shore 4%
Source: Pyrmont Customer Intercept Survey, 2014 – Directional Insights

The key characteristics of the shoppers interviewed in Pyrmont have been summarised in Table 12. The most common life stage of customers was young singles, representing a quarter of respondents. Interviewees also had a fairly high average income representative of the high proportion of young professionals living in the village.

Table 12 – Pyrmont Intercept Survey, Key Characteristics

Customer Characteristic 2014
Average Customer Age 39 years
Average Customer Household Income (All days) $109,300
Most Common Life stage of Customer Young singles
Proportion of Customers who visit Pyrmont weekly or more often 77%
Most popular method of travel to Pyrmont Walking (67%)
Purpose of visitation  
Purpose/Mission driven 63%
Leisure oriented 37%
Visited or likely to visit a Restaurant/ Café/ Hotel (excluding The Star) 36%
Source: Pyrmont Customer Intercept Survey, 2014 – Directional Insights

Night-time visitation

The night-time economy of Harris Street village is supported by the tourist market and patrons filtering through from the Darling Harbour precinct.

Entertainment venues such as The Star also play a significant role in driving night-time visitation to the village. Friday night visitation along Union Street peaked at approximately 1,700 people per hour between 5pm and 7pm.

To give some perspective on this figure, George Street in the city centre averaged closer to 6,600 patrons per hour at the same time.

Pedestrian counts conducted along Union Street in 2012 showed that activity peaked between 5 to 7pm on Friday nights with another spike in activity occurring between 10 and 11pm, influenced by patrons visiting The Star’s casino or entertainment centre later in the evening. On Saturday nights, activity peaked later at around 9pm. Overall, night-time visitation was stronger on a Friday night. 

Visitor accommodation

The 2012 Floor Space and Employment Survey details the supply of visitor accommodation available within Harris Street village, providing a broad indication of the capacity of the village to accommodate overnight visitors.

In 2012, the village had a total of 945 hotel rooms, which represents around 5% of the total supply in the City of Sydney local area. The supply of serviced apartments in the village was much more significant, with 785 units in 2012, representing 17% of total supply in the City of Sydney local area. Meanwhile there was no backpacker accommodation in the village.

Over the period between 2007 and 2012, the number of hotel rooms in the village grew by a significant 514 rooms over the period, representing a 119.3% increase. To a lesser extent, growth was also experienced in the number of serviced apartments, which increased by 16.3%.

Table 13 – Visitor Accommodation, 2012

2007 2012 Change % Change

Hotel Accommodation (Rooms)

431 945 514 119.3%

Serviced Apartments (Units)

675 785 110 16.3%

Backpacker Accommodation (Beds)

0 0 0 n.a.
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Contribution of tourists

Whilst reliable data on the number of overnight visitors and their economic contribution is not available for areas as small as Harris Street village, it is worthwhile considering data available for the wider City of Sydney local area, which gives an idea of the scale of their contribution.

Table 14 shows data from Tourism Research Australia (TRA) on overnight visitors to the City of Sydney in 2013. It shows that interstate visitors have a slightly higher spend per night than intrastate ones ($201 versus $173). While the spend per night for international visitors is significantly lower at $100, their trip duration is much longer, making the overall contribution per trip higher than domestic visitors.

Given that the Pyrmont customer intercept survey revealed a significant presence of international visitors and to a lesser extent, interstate visitors, it is likely that visitors will make a large contribution to the village economy. This is likely to be concentrated in areas around major tourist attractions, such as The Star and Powerhouse Museum

Table 14 – Overnight Visitor Characteristics, City of Sydney, 2013

Visitors (‘000) Visitor Nights (‘000) Average stay (nights) Average nightly expenditure*




1,462 2,758 1.9 $173


2,504 6,176 2.5 $201


2,030 30,042 14.8 $100
*Estimates for Metropolitan Sydney in 2012/13
Source: Tourism Research Australia

What does this mean for my business?

The available research suggests that local residents form a core market for many businesses in Harris Street village, with almost half of those interviewed living in Pyrmont. This highlights the fact that understanding local markets is key for successful business planning.

In the case of Harris Street village, visitors from interstate and overseas also form an important market segment. Visitation will mainly be motivated by tourist attractions in the village and therefore businesses located near these attractions may benefit from this market. Analysis of the tourist spending data highlights the potential benefits for local businesses in being able to tap into the visitor market.


This information has been compiled from various sources. The publisher and contributors accept no responsibility for any injury, loss or damage arising from the use, error or omissions therein. While all care is taken to ensure a high degree of accuracy, users are invited to notify the City of Sydney of any discrepancies. No part of this information, including maps or data, may be reproduced without written permission.

Last updated: Tuesday, 16 June 2015