The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) has voiced the need for a national convention centre to give a major boost to the country’s economy.
“A national convention centre, like that being proposed by SKYCITY, able to host major international conferences is a key component of a successful visitor economy. Tourism development has been hampered by the inability of New Zealand to successfully market itself as a destination for international business conferences,” TIA chairman Norm Thompson said.
TIA has long been advocating for a national convention centre. It was highlighted as a top priority in the 2008 Tourism Industry Election Manifesto and reiterated in the run-up to last year’s Parliamentary elections as a top priority for government action in TIA’s Tourism Future 2011-14 – The Visitor Economy: Creating Wealth.
It is estimated a national convention centre will boost New Zealand’s economy by more than $90 million a year.
“Development of a world-class convention centre will enable the industry to target a whole new market that can’t be accommodated by existing conference facilities. This is a completely untapped market segment for New Zealand, and will help us boost shoulder and low season travel,” Thompson said.
TIA has also called for a network of regional convention centres to support the national facility to further boost the important conference and incentive market.
Conference delegates are high-spending visitors, and conferences lead to a range of downstream business and economic benefits for the wider community, he says. Conference travel can also create return business where delegates return to New Zealand for private holidays.
New Zealand has been lagging behind other major international destinations, including most Australian cities, in not having a national convention centre.
“This will raise our profile in the valuable business conference market and increase the visitor industry’s contribution to New Zealand’s economy,” Thompson said.