The Christchurch stand at MEETINGS

Visiting conference and incentive travel planners have hailed the quality of the New Zealand’s billion-dollar business tourism industry and say they are eager to bring more people to the country.  

Around 200 buyers from Australia, Asia and New Zealand spent several days in Rotorua attending MEETINGS 2011, the business tourism industry’s annual trade show. Organised by Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ), the event showcases the diverse range of venues, products and services New Zealand has to offer.  

Supriyo Daw, from Club 7 Holidays Ltd in India, said when he returns to Calcutta he will be strongly recommending to Indian MICE planners that they bring groups to New Zealand.  

“I’ve been very impressed with everything I’ve seen here and will be encouraging everyone to bring people out here,” he said. “There is a lot of interest in India about New Zealand and I think you will see more and more groups coming here in the future.’’  

Julie Alderson, from Conference Call in Sydney, said it was very beneficial having a one-stop shop.

“It’s really good to have the opportunity to have all of the New Zealand product here and to have the opportunity to find out what’s new and what’s happening. It’s been so well organised and so well executed,” she said.  

“It’s certainly given us an opportunity to look beyond the main cities and the main areas we know the most about and to look at some alternate offerings.”

Exhibitor Michelle Jack, from Tourism Dunedin, said this year’s show was one of the best in years.  

“There’s a huge amount of positivity in the industry that I haven’t seen from buyers in the past few years,” Jack said. “The quality of the buyers has been outstanding and we’re getting bookings already.”

Jenny Barr from Scenic Circle Hotels was confident of securing new business as a result of MEETINGS.

“It’s probably been one of the most successful years for us,” she said. “We’ve had huge interest in our venues nationwide.”

Martin Boland from the Wellington Convention Bureau said the CINZ team did an “awesome” job of bringing MEETINGS together in Rotorua for the first time.  

“It’s been a very successful MEETINGS for us,” he said. “There is definitely business out there to be secured in the longer term.”

CINZ chief executive Alan Trotter said it will be a couple of weeks before it is possible to put a dollar figure on the amount of business generated through MEETINGS, but the feedback he is getting from both buyers and exhibitors has been extremely positive.  

“At the end of MEETINGS last year we had around NZD$25 million worth of intended business booked and I would expect to see a similar result this time,” he said.

“The buyers we’ve hosted from Australia, China, South East Asia and New Zealand have all been very enthusiastic about what they’ve seen here and impressed by the quality of our MICE industry,”  

Event manager Jeanette Stanton says she was thrilled with how the event went.

“The feedback we’ve had has all been very positive,” she said. “People have loved the venue and really valued the networking opportunities the social programme has provided.  

“We couldn’t have pulled this off without the tremendous support we’ve received from the Rotorua region and our wonderful suppliers and sponsors… we can’t thank them enough.”