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NZ Gov’t announces national convention centre

By James Wilkinson in Auckland

The New Zealand government has announced plans for a new national convention and exhibition centre as the country chases large-scale business events.

NZ Gov’t has announced plans for a national
convention centre

At the New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference in Auckland this morning, Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key said the new centre was vital, if the country is to be a serious player in the business events industry.

“Attracting more business visitors to New Zealand has the potential to contribute significantly to our economy,” he said.

“When we host business events, we also get the benefits of sharing information, learning new things, and fostering business ties with other countries.

“(That’s why) we’re looking at the potential for an international-scale convention and exhibition centre that can cater for business visitors,” Key said.

He said business arrivals to New Zealand fell by nine per cent last year, but as the global economy recovers, “we can expect business travel to recover too”.
“That’s why the Government is considering how we can host more international business events in New Zealand in the future… especially in the fastest growing segment of the market – the 1500-plus delegate range,” he said.
“Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee has recently held a series of meetings with venue owners and business event stakeholders in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington.
“They covered three main topics. First, the possibility of developing an international-scale convention and exhibition centre. Second, the development of a National Business Events Strategy. And third, how the current network of convention venues in New Zealand can work together to attract a greater number of international business events to New Zealand.
“The Minister will soon call for expressions of interest (and) we want your ideas on how the Government can partner with industry to attract more business visitors,” Key said.

The convention centre announcement came on the back of a major announcement by Key, who said tourism funding in 2010/11 would increase by NZD$30 million to just under NZD$100 million in total.

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