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Mice Net : August 2009
news meetings 2009 hits the spot Story by Johanna Mc Kinnon They came, They exhibiTed, they ate, partied, danced, and networked. This year’s meeTiNGS 2009 tradeshow in auckland hit all the right buttons. J ust as more than 130 hosted buyers and 270 day visitors bid farewell to MEETINGS 2009 a press release was issued by the event’s organisers claiming that millions of dollars had already been booked. Obviously, Conventions & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) had done a quick whip-around to gauge with exhibitors how much business they were anticipating, or indeed, how much business they had booked over the two-and-a-half days of the event. And if the figures are accurate, then they must be very happy indeed. If you hadn’t heard, there’s a recession in New Zealand. And what’s one of the first things to fall by the wayside when business is down? The business tourism sector of course – meetings, events and incentive travel rewards. Hopefully, the strong interest in the MEETINGS tradeshow held at the SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre in mid-July, is just what the business events sector needs to kick-start the new financial year and help break some of the doom and gloom that has gripped the market for the past 12 months. According to CINZ, Austin’s Food Design Events confirmed three events directly from MEETINGS 2009, and had plenty of leads to follow up on in the coming weeks. Destination Manawatu’s business development executive of conferences and events, Julie O’Brien, appears typical of the 8 mice.net exhibitor feedback of this year’s event, also recording strong leads from the show. “I came to MEETINGS focused on the domestic market which is key for us, and we’ve also secured two very strong Australian leads from Adelaide and Queensland, which is a real bonus,” Ms O’Brien said. “Some of the Australians seem to be looking for something a little bit different outside of the main centres and that’s of course just what Manawatu offers.” And for exhibitors there wasn’t a dull moment with most saying they had full appointment streams and successful meetings. Events and Venues Rotorua sales and marketing manager Brett Jeffery agreed and said this year’s MEETINGS had exceeded expectations. “The day buyers are obviously very important to us and being in Auckland this year we’ve seen more day buyers. Also the quality of buyers from Australia has been very good,” he said. “The highlight this year is going national with our stand instead of being within the Rotorua region. Even though we are heavily involved with Rotorua, but going national with the presence we’ve got, has been brilliant.” CINZ chief executive, Alan Trotter is understandably chuffed with early reports about business being written, knowing full well that the New Zealand business tourism industry has been in a holding