The proposed convention centre at Skycity in Auckland

Development of a national convention centre in Auckland will give a major boost to New Zealand’s economy, according to the nation’s peak tourism industry body.

“A national convention centre, like that being proposed by Skycity, able to host major international conferences is a key component of a successful visitor economy. Tourism development has been hampered by the inability of New Zealand to successfully market itself as a destination for international business conferences,” said Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand (TIA) Chairman, Norm Thompson.

He said TIA has long been advocating for a national convention centre and it was highlighted as a top priority back in the 2008 Tourism Industry Election Manifesto.

It is estimated a national convention centre will boost New Zealand’s economy by more than $90 million a year and Thompson said it must be developed.

“Development of a world-class convention centre will enable the industry to target a whole new market that can’t be accommodated by existing conference facilities,” he said. “This is a completely untapped market segment for New Zealand, and will help us boost shoulder and low season travel.”

TIA has also called for a network of regional convention centres to support the national facility to further boost the important conference and incentive market.

Conference delegates are high-spending visitors, and conferences lead to a range of downstream business and economic benefits for the wider community, he says. Conference travel can also create return business where delegates return to New Zealand for private holidays.

Thompson said New Zealand has been lagging behind other major international destinations, including most Australian cities, in not having a national convention centre.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management

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