AIME update: New Zealand talks growth

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New infrastructure projects across New Zealand were a major talking point for the country at Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) last week.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) chief executive Sue Sullivan says two new convention centres are being planned for Christchurch and Auckland which are set to give the country opportunity to grow its convention capabilities, while further developments in Queenstown and Wellington will also further enhance the venue offering.

Knowledge of New Zealand as a business events destination is at an all-time high – with New Zealand ranking 51st in the International Conference and Convention Association’s (ICCA) annual country and city rankings.

Sullivan says there are at least 83 conferences on the international circuit that the country is missing out on because it doesn’t have a venue large enough.

“A facility in Auckland catering for 3000 delegates will allow New Zealand to host conferences of a size not seen here before. We immediately become an international player, challenging Australia and South East Asia for lucrative convention business.

As well as great infrastructure, Sullivan also highlighted that New Zealand has a special brand of hospitality that is highly valued by overseas visitors. “Caring for our guests is at the heart of our culture. The best way to describe our warm welcome is ‘manaakitanga’, a Maori word that means respect, humanity and kindness. It’s part of everything we do, and this is what we’ve brought to AIME,” she said.

CINZ and Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) partnered together to lead a large contingent of 14 of New Zealand’s key business events operators to AIME 2015. These included:

  • Air New Zealand
  • Accor Hotels New Zealand
  • Auckland Convention Bureau
  • Auckland Conventions, Venues and Events
  • Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre
  • Claudelands Convention Centre
  • Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts
  • Destination Rotorua and Venues
  • Hamilton and Waikato Convention Bureau
  • Heritage Hotels
  • Millennium Hotels and Resorts
  • SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre
  • The Langham Auckland
  • Tourism New Zealand

New infrastructure projects planned for New Zealand

Auckland

SkyCity is prepared to invest more than $402.3 million on the project subject to its board’s final determination. Resource consent application is with Auckland Council which it expects to hear about in March 2015. The NZICC will be capable of hosting 3500 people, with a 3000 seat arena, exhibition spaces and break outs. SkyCity is looking to finesse the convention centre’s design without altering the scale too much.

Christchurch

Master planning for the new Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre is now in its final stages. The Preferred Operator, Accor, is engaged in design workshops with the Preferred Developer, Plenary Conventions New Zealand, to confirm a functional brief for the centre.

In addition to 4000sqm of exhibition space, a tiered and divisible auditorium for 1500 people and multiple flexible meeting spaces, it will also feature a premium banquet space.

Bookings for 2018 and beyond have already been secured, and there is considerable interest in Christchurch and the Canterbury region from the international business events market. The master planning stage will be completed within the next few months and construction is due to start mid- 2015.

Queenstown

Two new centres are proposed for Queenstown. The proposed Queenstown Convention Centre will be located in the centre of town, and the land required here is to be rezoned. Funding and design details have yet to be finalised.

The Remarkables Park Centre is being developed near the airport. It is a privately funded project. Initial plans show it will have a 750 delegate capacity, with space for exhibitions, plenary and banquets.

Wellington

Wellington City Council is very committed to delivering a Convention Centre for the city as a key piece of infrastructure in the city plan to drive economic growth. There are now two sites being considered, both in close proximity to Wellington’s vibrant heart and spectacular waterfront.

Discussions continue with key stakeholders and the city looks forward to being able to announce a refreshed plan in the not too distant future.

www.conventionsnz.co.nz

25 February 2015

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