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New Zealand "gains momentum" after business events investment

A £10.3 million investment in marketing and promotion has attracted business worth £117m

Pictured: Sue Sullivan, CEO of Conventions and Incentives New Zealand

New Zealand’s NZ$21 million (£10.3m) investment in business events has already won conferences and incentives worth NZ$238m (£117m) to the local economy, with the country now focused on attracting larger international events through new infrastructure and initiatives.

René de Monchy, director of trade, PR and major events at Tourism New Zealand, said the New Zealand government’s initial allocation of NZ$34m (£17m) between 2013 and 2017 to promote the country as a destination for business events was already proving fruitful.

The number of international delegates visiting New Zealand increased 11 per cent in 2015, while their spend increased 15 per cent to NZ$350 (£172) per night.

He pointed to a number of initiatives which had increased the country’s appeal, including a Conference Assistance Programme, which provides strategic funding and marketing support to assist in bringing events of 200 or more international delegates to New Zealand. A new Business Events Visa programme, aiding access for delegates from the key markets of China, India, Thailand and Indonesia, has already been used by 900 people.

“We are really gaining momentum,” de Monchy said. “We are a smaller destination so we have to be clever in how we work this. There’s a lot happening in the infrastructure space to attract larger conventions in future.”

These include the NZ$471m (£232m) New Zealand International Convention Centre, scheduled to open in Auckland in 2019 with convention capacity for 3,000; and the new Wellington Convention Centre and Movie Museum, a project spearheaded by movie maker Sir Peter Jackson, also expected to open 2019, with capacity for up to 2,250. Plans are also under way for a new convention centre precinct in Christchurch, and a privately-funded conference centre in Queenstown.

de Monchy was speaking at CINZ MEETINGS 2016, New Zealand’s largest business tourism trade exhibition, held on 15-16 June at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds. The event, now celebrating its 20th year, showcased nearly 200 exhibitors from across New Zealand to more than 500 buyers. This included a group of 100 hosted buyers and media from Australia, and a hosted group of 40 influential international buyers and media from China, South East Asia, India and North America.

"We have hosted a big contingent of international buyers and media at MEETINGS this year and they were very interested in New Zealand’s growing potential for large events, as well as bespoke incentive travel,” said Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) CEO Sue Sullivan.

"The exhibitors have had plenty of positive feedback and have collectively held over 6,000 meetings with potential clients and will be leaving MEETINGS with strong business leads to follow up. Last year our exhibitors contracted over NZ$50m (£24.6m) on the show floor. Our buyers and media are leaving with a much better understanding of just how much this country has to offer as a conference and incentive destination.”

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