Tourism New Zealand targets record $135m worth of international conferences

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Tourism New Zealand is targeting a record NZ$135 million worth of international conferences that will support the business event sector’s recovery over the coming years.

Speaking at MEETINGS 2023 in Wellington, Tourism New Zealand chief executive René de Monchy said Tourism New Zealand aims to bid for 90 international conferences in FY24, following a successful FY23 of 84 bids worth NZ$120 million for New Zealand.

“In FY24 Tourism New Zealand will work hard to support New Zealand’s business events sector to attract business that will also grow knowledge and collaboration across many of society’s important subjects and industries,” he said.

“This target is reflective of the recovery of the business events sector and our aspiration for success in this market, which is New Zealand’s fourth most valuable.”

The economic value of business events in New Zealand was estimated at NZ$1.48 billion in the year ending June 2019, the most recent year there is full data for before New Zealand’s border closed.

The number of conference bids has grown consistently year on year from seven in 2012 to 89 in 2019, before the pandemic led to a drop.

Despite New Zealand’s borders being closed, bid activity continued, building a pipeline of conference business through to 2028.

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Tākina welcomed over 1,000 business events delegates for MEETINGS 2023.

MEETINGS 2023 has now wrapped marking both its largest event yet and the first time in the show’s 27-year history it was held in New Zealand’s capital.

Wellington’s new convention centre Tākina welcomed over 1,000 business events professionals, 224 exhibitor stands, and more than 400 buyers from around New Zealand, Australia and beyond.

Business Events Wellington manager Irette Ferreira says this year’s show marked a significant moment in the city’s future, saying it was “an incredible week”.

“Every hotel, venue, supplier and experience in the city has come together to make MEETINGS 2023 a success,” she said.

“This week shows just how tight-knit Wellington’s industry is and what a client can expect when hosting a conference or event in the capital.”

Lisa Hopkins, chief executive of Business Events Industry Aotearoa, says the team at Tākina “were critical to the overarching success of the event”.

“MEETINGS 2023 was an outstanding success thanks in no small part to the team at Business Events Wellington and Tākina Events,” she said.

“The venue itself was maximised with all rooms and meeting space used.”