New Zealand drops pre-departure testing as demand for business events takes off

pre-departure testing

New Zealand will lift its requirement for pre-departure testing on June 20, a month earlier than expected.

The announcement was welcomed by Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA), which has just wrapped its successful annual MEETINGS 2022 at Christchurch.

MEETINGS was the first international exhibition to be held at Te Pae Christchurch and posted a record number of exhibitors from 18 regions across 211 stands, and over 400 buyers, including 110 from Australia.

BEIA chief executive Lisa Hopkins said the timing couldn’t be better with New Zealand bringing three new convention centres online in the next few years.

“With international visitors returning and the first of three next-generation convention centres – Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre – now open, New Zealand is firmly placed on the world stage,” said Hopkins.

“Tākina in Wellington is set to open next year, followed by the New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland, now under construction.

pre-departure testing

“The business events sector in New Zealand declined by 78 percent in spend since 2019. The only way is up, and MEETINGS has shown there is strong demand.”

Tourism New Zealand chief executive René de Monchy said the business events sector was on track for a fast rebound.

“Tourism New Zealand investment will focus on Australia, China and the USA, which made up 60 percent of international tourism value pre-Covid and will continue to play a major role in high value visitation,” he said.

Hopkins said BEIA had a plan to support the development of people for the sector, with initiatives kicking off with Auckland University of Technology and Ringa Hora Workforce Development, as well as more tactical engagements within its organisation specifically for members.

“MEETINGS has proven the need to meet in person is stronger than ever,” she said. “Our work now lies in ensuring we have talented people.”

In partnership with Tourism Talent, BEIA had invited students from Lincoln University’s Event Management school to tour MEETINGS, learning about the sector, and potentially introducing them to future employers.