New Zealand could have three new convention centres up and running by 2019, with a total capacity increase of around 6000 delegates, says Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) chief executive Alan Trotter at the opening of MEETINGS 2013 in Auckland yesterday.
The increased capacity would take New Zealand to the next level and create new opportunities for marketing New Zealand as a business event destination.
“The new convention centres will also drive greater hotel investment and benefit the wider tourism industry.
Trotter said the huge increase in delegate capacity will create challenges and opportunities, in terms of filling the convention centres and making them sustainable.
“Lead times are anything between three and seven years so 2019 sounds a long time, but in terms of how the market works it’s not. As soon as these projects are confirmed the industry needs to get out marketing because they need to be full and they need to hit the ground running.”
MEETINGS 2013, the biggest business tourism industry expo in New Zealand history, is showcasing New Zealand’s multi-million dollar business tourism industry to 185 hosted buyers from Australia, China, South East Asia and North America and 400 local day buyers. A record 180 suppliers are taking part in the two day exhibition.
Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) chief executive Brett O’Reilly confirmed a high degree of confidence from investors in Auckland as a result of the international convention centre announcement.
“Four new hotel developments are planned in the next three years and we expect to see several more,” he said.
“There are several other spin-offs of convention activity. One is (delegate) spend, which is anywhere between three and five times that of the normal international visitor. Equally important is seasonality and what kind of visitor can realistically be targeted in the off-season. The answer is conventions; research tells us clearly the busiest month for convention activity in Auckland is August and internationally September.
Delegates are not going to come from Europe down to Auckland just for a three night conference, he said “They’re going to stay here for a week or more, bring family and visit other parts of New Zealand, so it’s really win win.
Alan Trotter said the other benefit of convention activity is the ‘knowledge transfer’ that accrues to a country hosting a major scientific, legal or medical convention.
“You’re getting the best brains in the world coming to your country engaging with your own scientists or doctors. That connection and injection of knowledge is just fantastic.”