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Mice Net : August 2009
new zealand business tourism holding steady Business tourism in New Zealand is holding steady despite the difficult economic climate. A lan Trotter, head of New Zealand’s peak meetings body, Conventions & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) says business tourism is holding steady despite the difficult economic climate and that the outlook for the coming year is strong. “Looking ahead over the next six to 12 months, both international and domestic conference and incentive bookings are looking reasonably healthy,” Mr Trotter said. “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.” On the conference centre front, recent announcements in both Hamilton and Auckland are nothing but good news for the national industry as a whole. Just recently Hamilton Council approved plans to build the $68.4 million Claudelands Convention and Exhibition Centre as part of its 2009-2019 Long Term Council Community Plan. The centre will include a 5000-capacity multipurpose indoor arena, and a 1500-capacity conference centre. The project has been designed to be within close proximity to Hamilton’s CBD and will be a unique one-site multi-zoned facility. “Claudelands will also give us access to many sports and entertainment events that don’t come to Hamilton currently. This project will keep up to 300 people employed for the next two years in an industry that is under pressure,” said Hamilton Mayor Bob Simcock following the announcement. In Auckland, the news is also good, with the announcement of government support of a feasibility study for a national convention centre. The government has committed to a $250,000 feasibility study to build a centre that could cater for groups of up to 4000. 106 mice.net Auckland City Council is also putting a further $20,000 towards the feasibility study and will contribute $30,000 for the business case. PM John Key said the study will be conducted over a six to 12 month period. Tourism Auckland CEO Graeme Osborne said it’s a step in the right direction for business events in the destination. “For New Zealand to remain competitive there’s a strong case for our country to have a national events facility of world-class scale and quality. I’m sure the majority of the C&I industry would support this,” he said. Mr Trotter said the creation of a national convention centre could generate in excess of $80 million into the economy by 2015. Conference Assistance Program In the mean time, Convention & Incentives New Zealand’s Conference Assistance Program (CAPS) continues to pay dividends for the industry at large with Mr Trotter saying the initiative is helping to maintain and build the strong international association conference base. CAPS offers free advice to research and write international association conference bids. 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.” This initiative along with the recent industry tradeshow MEETINGS 2009 are continuing to contribute to the forward thrust of the industry as a whole. ABOVE: City at sunset, Auckland. Photo courtesy of Tourism Auckland.