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Mice Net : August 2009
news pattern for many months. “Looking ahead over the next six to 12 months, both international and domestic conference and incentive bookings are looking reasonably healthy,” he says. “Admittedly the industry has found the last year or so challenging, but I think the worst of the trough is over and we are on the way up. With an international standard national convention centre looking likely for Auckland, strengthening Australian and domestic bookings and a sound base of international association business to build on, the industry is starting to take shape again.” Mr Trotter said the CINZ-driven government funded Conference Assistance Program (CAPS) is working hard behind the scenes to maintain and build the strong international association conference base. CAPS offers free advice to research and write international association conference bids and since April 2005 CAPS-secured association conferences have injected $140.45 million dollars into the New Zealand economy. “For every $1 invested in CAPS we are seeing a $100 return straight back into the economy which is very pleasing,” Mr Trotter said. “A total of 16 international conference bids went ahead over the last year with 11 of these successful and worth more than $18 million to the economy.” Let’s party! One of the great things about the MEETINGS exhibition is its compact nature and the fact that hosted buyers, day buyers and exhibitors do not have to compete fiercely for face time. Hosted buyers – and this year there were buyers from Australia, the U.S., Singapore, India and Thailand – are highly qualified, each having to prove to the organisers that they are ready, willing and able to book business into New Zealand. But like any good exhibition, it’s not all about sitting in a booth and watching video footage of a venue or destination. Hosted buyers at MEETINGS also have the opportunity to touch and taste the best the host destination has to offer at the welcome cocktail function and the gala dinner, which this year was described by many as “the best ever”. The final night shindig was this year held at TelstraClear Pacific in Manukau and really delivered – from the food served to the entertainment. The theme of the night was Pacifico Paradise, and it certainly was with a spread of tropical fruit cocktails and Pacific Island dancers shaking their grass skirts. A young dance troupe performed a series of routines that got the crowd pumping. A guest star performance from Tina Turner (or certainly a drag version) wowed the audience and got everyone onto the dance floor for a boogie. The first buses were due to depart after 10pm but as far as we could tell there weren’t many heading home then… In fact, the party really started pumping after this time, and continued well after midnight. MEETINGS 2009 is expected to generate around $185 million dollars worth of business with $25 million dollars booked during the show, and a further $160 million secured over the next year or so from leads established at the show. To learn more about MEETINGS 2009 visit www.meetings.co.nz. ABOVE: With full appointment streams left, right and centre, it’s no wonder business was booked at MEETINGS 2009. mice.net 9