Organisers behind coronavirus hit World Hereford Conference liquidate as business ‘completely vanished’

The event organisers behind a cattle conference linked to 24 cases of coronavirus in New Zealand has gone into liquidation.

Dinamics Destination Management, which ran the coronavirus-plagued World Hereford Conference in Queenstown, said business simply dried up after as the Covid-19 pandemic spread.

Scott and Bea Bellingham told Stuff NZ that business for the year “completely vanished” following the strict travel restrictions. The couple only acquired the business in June 2019.

“Whilst we had enough cash reserves for a normal year, or even a rocky year, we did not have the opportunity to build up the financial resilience that more established business may see,” the couple said.

“We went from a pipeline of around 30 events to no prospects for the forseeable future. A company cannot survive on a Government handout alone.”

Around 400 delegates from around the world including Europe, South America, USA, England and Australia were at the event, which was held from March 9-13.

An Australian man who attended the conference was the first to test positive for Covid-19.

Eventually hundreds of people linked to the conference and its associated tours had been asked to self-isolate.

“I think when we look back on this time in years to come, we will say, yes, the country as a whole should have directed a faster lock-down,” they said

“However, at that time the client made the decision on the information and advice provided by the Government – to proceed as normal and to encourage good hygiene, and to not attend if sick or unwell.

“We communicated these messages in as many ways we could.”

The conference has now been classified as a Covid-19 cluster by the Ministry of Health.