A robust COVID-safe framework will be at the core of Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre when it officially opens its doors in 2021.
Originally slated to open this month, COVID-19 and construction delays has forced the new-build centre to revise its opening date.
But rather than dwell on the delays, Te Pae Christchurch general manager Ross Steele said the team has taken it as an opportunity to reassess.
“There is no doubt that 2020 has not turned out quite as expected. COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone, and for us it has certainly changed the way we look at events from an operational perspective,” he said.
“As we’ve started talking with clients about events in 2021 and beyond, it has become clear they are expecting convention centres to have an enhanced level of hygiene to give them a level of comfort.”
As a result, the centre has developed an EventSafe Operating Framework, based on parent company ASM Global’s comprehensive VenueShield hygiene and sanitisation program.
The framework covers measures such as socially distanced room capacities, increased cleaning protocol, contactless and cashless payments and more.
Virtual tours now open
Ahead of its opening, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre has partnered with Christchurch-based technology company JIX Reality to launch a virtual tour of the centre.
Accessible via mobile device or virtual reality headset, the experience begins in the Ground Floor Foyer before moving through the centre’s flexible and modern spaces, including the 1,400 seat auditorium, the 1,000-seat banquet space, the 2,800-square-metre Exhibition Halls and smaller meeting rooms and pre-function areas.
Users can either follow a pre-determined path or undertake a self-guided 360-degree experience and visit specific spaces.
Steele said Christchurch is well-known for its innovation in the tech space.
“JIX Reality is a great example of this, the team are forward-thinking and creative – they came up with some industry-leading ideas and had the technological capability to make it a reality,” he said.
“And when we needed to look at solutions that would allow us to open our doors, so to speak, while the borders remained closed – they quickly adapted our new virtual product to suit.”
JIX Reality founder and CEO Sakthi Ranganathan said the team were tasked with creating a customised experience for Te Pae Christchurch.
“We have a flexible approach to development that allows for adaptations to unforeseen circumstances like the current pandemic, and in fact over time, the final product evolved from being solely a virtual reality experience to being an experience that can be enjoyed virtually by anyone anywhere in the world, regardless of device,” he said.
Take the virtual tour here: