The planned convention centre in Christchurch will open up new opportunities for business tourism in the region, says Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau manager Caroline Blanchfield.
The government is due to announce within the next few weeks where Christchurch’s new convention centre will be built, clearing the way for new investment in hotels, restaurants and cafes.
Blanchfield says the new convention centre, which she hopes will be built within a couple of years, will give Christchurch enviable state-of-the-art conferencing facilities.
“All indications suggest this new convention centre will be bigger and better than the one before and that means we will be able to bid for bigger international conferences and events.,” she says.
“Put the new convention centre together with our existing venues like the CBS Canterbury Arena and Air Force Museum and the potential for Christchurch as a business tourism destination is huge.
“Add in our regional venues and the choices for conference and event organisers become endless,’’ Blanchfield says.
The scope of venues available in Canterbury is one of the reasons why Christchurch has been chosen to host the 2016 International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) Working Week – an international gathering tipped to add NZD$3 million to the local economy.
The conference will bring around 700 surveying and mapping experts from around the world to Christchurch in and will be one of the biggest international gatherings held in Christchurch since the February 2011 earthquake.
The New Zealand Institute of Surveyors and premium sponsor Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) bid for the hosting rights with the support of Tourism New Zealand and the Conference Assistance Programme (CAP), and the University of Otago’s National School of Surveying and Conference Innovators.
Christchurch’s planned new convention centre is the proposed venue for the conference but CBS Canterbury Arena and the Air Force Museum were also presented to the organising committee as alternative venues during the bidding process in Rome so as to demonstrate Christchurch’s capability to act as host even if the convention centre is still under construction.
Blanchfield says Christchurch’s success in securing the conference sends a clear message to the business tourism industry that Christchurch is still in the game.
“Our plan now is to build on the momentum and actively pursue more international conferences for our city,” Blanchfield says. “We believe the future for business tourism in our region is bright and we anticipate the FIG conference will be the first of many large international gatherings we host in the coming years as our city rebuilds.’’