For the first time since its opening 20 years ago, the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb is set to change ownership, marking the end of an era, one that reminds us of the pain of climbing 1332 stairs.
On a more positive note, we found out that over 4000 couples have become engaged on the climb, and around 26 couples have tied the knot.
Which consequently has us in tears again.
The changeover was marked when the Roads and Maritime Services announced last week that BridgeClimb Sydney had been unsuccessful in its bid to win a new 20-year contract with the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Hammons Holdings, owner of Scenic World in the Blue Mountains, was appointed as the new operator of Sydney Harbour Bridge tourism.
The third-generation, family-owned tourism business will have the right to operate climbing and other tourism activities on the bridge for the next 20 years.
The appointment followed a competitive tender process with both national and international entities participating.
BridgeClimb began operation on 1 October 1998 and has submitted 4 million climbers from over 140 countries since, including celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Jamie Oliver.
Upholding an unblemished safety record, with no serious injury in 20 years, BridgeClimb Sydney said they had transformed the Sydney Harbour Bridge from “a postcard to a global bucket list experience”.
BridgeClimb Sydney chairman and founder Paul Cave said: “It has been a privilege for us to make a hero of the Bridge, and of every climber on every climb.”
“We will continue to create unforgettable memories until our final climber.”
In the new era for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Hammons Holdings CEO David Hammon said the company will draw on more than 70 years of operations at Scenic World to inject new life into the bridge experience.
“The bridge is already an iconic structure, recognised around the world, we want to make it a must-see destination for Sydneysiders and visitors to Sydney, regardless of physical or financial restraints.” he said.
“Our vision is to create the people’s bridge, we will be exploring ways to safely expand new access to areas of the bridge, use innovative technology to bring the bridge to life, and make its history and connectivity a more central part of the experience.”
BridgeClimb will undertake normal operations up until 30 September 2018, with the new contract set to begin the following day.