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18 September 2017

Drawing in the delegates - NZ Management Magazine

Publishing InformationNew Zealand Management Magazine

Magazine Issue: Management October 2017

With two major new convention centres under construction, New Zealand is expected to go from strength to strength as an international meetings destination, and that should mean real opportunities for New Zealand businesses to forge closer ties with their global counterparts.

Conferences are big business and getting bigger. Statistics used by Conventions and Incentives NZ (CINZ), the official, membership based association of New Zealand’s conference and business travel industry, show that multi-day conventions generated 1,005,000 visitor nights in New Zealand with delegates spending an estimated $588 million in 2016.

And these delegates are bigger spenders and stay longer than your average visitor. CINZ says that on average each international delegate spent a total of $2,009 in New Zealand.

In Auckland, the New Zealand International Convention Centre, now under construction, is five times larger than the current largest convention facilities in New Zealand with a gross floor area of 32,500 sqm and is capable of hosting conferences of around 3,150 people and one-off events of around 4,000 people, according to the NZICC website.

NZICC describes the design as transparent and open featuring “high ceilings, panoramic views and flexible, dynamic spaces” with a unique New Zealand identity.

Once opened in 2020, the NZICC is expected to attract 33,000 new international visitors to New Zealand which equates to 101,000 additional visitor nights.

Likewise, convention industry leaders say demand is high for Christchurch’s convention and exhibition centre, set to be ready for business in 2020. The Government announced in August that main construction work would get underway soon. It awarded a $240 million contract to complete the design and construction of the centre which is expected to be a cornerstone of the revitalised Christchurch central city.

The direct economic benefit of the convention centre, which can cater for 1,400 delegates, is estimated to be more than $320 million in the first eight years, and $57 million every year after that, according to the government.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) chief executive Sue Sullivan says there is growing international demand for this style of premium facility.

“With lead-times for major conferences between three to eight years and a long pipeline for future business, we can now confidently go out and book Christchurch for 2020 and beyond.”

She says in a statement that with the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) followed by Christchurch, New Zealand is set to capture a bigger slice of the international multi-day convention market.

But it’s not just conventions that New Zealand Inc is chasing, Sullivan points towards the incentives market and the 8,000 Chinese Amway sellers coming to Queenstown next year. This was a joint bid by Tourism New Zealand and Destination Queenstown competing against an international line up to win the bid for the Amway business.

Sullivan says New Zealand Inc working together, or “hunting in a pack” is helping secure international conferences and incentives.

Conferences are also a seed market for return visits to New Zealand. Once delegates have been here they often want to come back and bring their families. And NZICC's marketing manager, Sarah Burilin says these delegates can also open the door to trade, investment and international education opportunities for New Zealand businesses.

Sullivan says that internationally conventions and incentives is a hugely competitive market with a conference for almost everything.

Just this year the NZICC has won the 36th World Veterinary Association Congress which will bring together 1,200 veterinarians from all over the world.

Auckland Convention Bureau – a division of Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development with support from Tourism New Zealand, worked with an international conference organiser and NZICC to secure the winning bid.

The veterinary event joins other events secured for the NZICC, including the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and International Union of Food Science and Technology 20th World Congress of Food Science and Technology, says Burilin.

Sullivan says events are a much bigger business than many people understand and that New Zealand can play to it strengths in areas such as geothermal, viticulture, the thoroughbred horse industry and construction and engineering in Christchurch.

And global rankings show New Zealand’s conference hosting star is on the rise, according to the International Congress and Convention Association’s (ICCA) annual data released in May.

New Zealand rose four places in the world listings, taking out the 12th spot in Asia Pacific and the 47th spot in the world, according to a media release from Tourism NZ.

“This result reflects the huge amount of work New Zealand’s business events industry has put in over the last few years to promote the country as a global conference destination,” said Lisa Gardiner, manager business events and premium at Tourism New Zealand.

“International event organisers who have held major conferences in New Zealand are spreading the word that our industry is unique in the collaborative way we deliver memorable events. This is another way that helps differentiate us as an attractive destination.”

Publishing Information New Zealand Management Magazine
Magazine Issue: Management October 2017

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