Christchurch & Canterbury’s conference industry will be flying the red and black flag with pride and spreading the message its down, but far from out when it heads to Rotorua in June for MEETINGS 2011.
Canterbury will have a strong presence at the business tourism expo, which was originally scheduled to be held in Christchurch but was transferred to Rotorua after February’s damaging quake.
“The message we want to get out to conference and incentive organisers here and across the Tasman is that our region is still open for business and MEETINGS gives us a great platform to do that,” said Christchurch & Canterbury Convention Bureau manager Leonie Ashford.
“The February 22 earthquake has certainly taken a toll on our central Christchurch conference venues and our city hotel accommodation, but fortunately conference and exhibition venues outside of the CBD, like CBS Canterbury Arena, the Air Force Museum and the Addington Events Centre are unaffected and operating as normal,” Ashford said.
“In the wider Canterbury region we have some fabulous conferencing venues and accommodation that really offer the wow factor. Places like Hanmer Springs, Methven, Tekapo and Aoraki Mt Cook offer not only superb facilities for meetings and incentives, but also amazing opportunities to experience New Zealand’s great outdoors and to soak in some of the best scenery in the world.’’
Those destinations will be strongly promoted at MEETINGS, where buyers will be able to discuss their conferencing requirements with representatives from Terrace Downs Resort, Heritage Hanmer Springs and Glenfalloch Station, to name just a few. Ashburton District will have a strong contingent at MEETINGS, offering a wide range of venues and accommodation, including the new Methven Heritage Centre, all just an hour’s drive from Christchurch International Airport.
Also joining the Canterbury contingent at MEETINGS will be representatives from Vbase, Chateau on the Park, Rydges Hotel, The George hotel, and, of course, Christchurch & Canterbury Convention Bureau.
“Our role at the bureau is to be a one-stop shop for free advice and information on the wide range of services and the many opportunities available here,’’ says Ms Ashford. “We’re passionate about our region and what it offers and we love helping meeting and incentive organisers put together programmes that excite and delight.
“What really sets us apart from other destinations isn’t our bricks and mortar. It’s our people. They have an amazing spirit and always provide visitors with a warm welcome. It’s what makes Canterbury so special and why conference organisers have always enjoyed coming here.”
That Cantabrian spirit will be celebrated at MEETINGS with a special Canterbury-themed gala dinner.
“Everyone has been so supportive through this difficult time and we’re thrilled to have this chance to get together with our colleagues and to say thank you for everything they’ve done to help us,” Ashford said.