Qualified buyers from across eight countries have arrived in Auckland, New Zealand in droves for CINZ MEETINGS 2018, the country’s largest business events industry showcase.
For a lucky few, the fun started last Friday (25 May, 2018) as pre-conference famils of the regions kicked off in Auckland, Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington, Marlborough, Christchurch and Canterbury, Dunedin and Queenstown.
Around 190 suppliers and 500 MICE organisers are expected to attend the tradeshow this year, which is being held at the ASB Showgrounds.
“Exhibitors and buyers will hold more than 6,000 meetings during our two days of pre-scheduled appointments and social networking events. With the support of key regional convention bureaux and Air New Zealand, we have hosted 48 Australian buyers and media on six different regional weekend tours, another 28 will visit Hobbiton and Hamilton on Friday, and eight head to the Bay of Islands for a post-MEETINGS tour hosted by Millennium Hotels and Resorts and Air New Zealand,” said CINZ chief executive Sue Sillivan.
“Visiting Auckland, Lake Taupo, Rotorua, Marlborough, Christchurch and Queenstown this weekend, our Australian buyers and media have experienced everything from luxury lodges, wineries and local cuisine, to four-wheel driving, jetboating, sailing, island hopping, thermal health spas, and teeing off in the awe-inspiring scenery of a world heritage listed national park. They have also been immersed in true Māori cultural experiences, and throughout their time here they have all experienced the overwhelming warmth of the Aotearoa New Zealand welcome – our manaakitanga,” she says.
MEETINGS attracts international conference and incentive organisers, brought here with support from Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) and Air New Zealand. This year they include 30 hosted buyers and media from China, South-East Asia, North America, Argentina and over 90 buyers and media from Australia. Last year MEETINGS generated more than $56 million of signed business across the two days at ASB Showgrounds.
Ms Sullivan says New Zealand is a sought-after conference, incentive and event destination. “We are safe, friendly, hospitable, innovative and great to do business with. This makes our industry a significant generator of income, employment, investment and knowledge-sharing for New Zealand,” she says.
“With the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) in Auckland, and Christchurch’s new convention centre set to open by 2020, New Zealand is ready to capture a bigger share of the international multi-day convention market. Regional New Zealand will also benefit from these new venues, as large conferences book to take their sub-conferences to venues outside of the main centres.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Māori cultural values will be a key focus of MEETINGS 2018, Ms Sullivans says.
“Our culture sets Aotearoa New Zealand apart on the world stage. Our venue designers, our artists, our leaders, and our hosts are embracing Māori culture at many levels in their business event thinking.
“Māori culture is more than something we do, it is who we are, from the way we greet our visitors, to the time and care we take in hosting them,” she says.
The three core values of Māori culture Kaitiakitanga – the guardianship and protection of our natural, built and cultural resources, Manaakitanga – showing respect, warm hospitality, generosity and care for others, and Whanaungatanga – a relationship through shared experiences and working together, giving people a sense of belonging.
“These values underpin what we do, give visitors a deeper connection to New Zealand and a greater understanding of our capabilities and our culture,” Sue Sullivan says.
Before MEETINGS 2018 opens on Wednesday 30 May, CINZ Māori culture advisor Ngahihi o-te-ra Bidois will bless the exhibition space at ASB Showgrounds, and the stands and food served to guests with traditional karakia (prayers). He will do the same at the event’s conclusion on 31 May and wish safe travels for all visitors.