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Wellington Maintains a Strong Conventions Market

Wednesday 16 August 2006

Wellington Maintains a Strong Conventions Market

Wellington’s conventions market is continuing to be a strong driver of visitation to the capital, according to the latest results in a regional visitor survey.

The Regional Visitor Monitor (RVM) has just released its April to June 2006 results. A joint venture between the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism New Zealand and six regional tourism organisations (RTOs), the monitor aims to give seasonal ‘snapshots’ of visitors’ experiences in the regions surveyed, providing national as well as regional reports.

The results show that 11% of people visiting Wellington over this period cited conferences or conventions as the main reason for visiting. This is ahead of the national benchmark for this quarter of 4.5%.

“The conventions market is hugely important for Wellington tourism,” says Positively Wellington Tourism CEO Tim Cossar. “In the last financial year the city secured 35 conferences, which is estimated to bring $16.8 million to the capital over upcoming years. One of Wellington’s most attractive features is its compactness, which makes the city easy to navigate and cuts down on transport costs for delegates.”

The Wellington Convention Centre, one of the city’s largest conference venues, enjoyed a busy April to June period. It hosted 22 conferences spanning 57 event days from a range of industries including education, telecommunications, finance, health and even the music industry. Business Development Manager Elsa Bradbury says this was a particularly good result, considering that a number of public holidays such as Easter, Anzac Day and the Queen’s Birthday occurred during that period.

The recent RVM results show that Wellington is also outperforming the national benchmark when it comes to the visiting friends and relatives market. Traditionally a strong market for Wellington, 35% of people surveyed indicated that this was their main reason for visiting, well ahead of the national benchmark of 27%.

The latest results are the third set to be released by the RVM, which began in November last year. Tim Cossar says the value of the survey is that it builds upon previous quarters’ results, providing aggregated data that can help RTOs identify trends and areas for improvement.

“Looking back over the past three quarters, a clear message emerges about how Wellington is performing as a visitor destination,” Tim Cossar says. “The overall satisfaction level is high, with visitors giving the capital an 8.2 rating in terms of satisfaction. This is very much in line with the national benchmark.”

“Visitors are consistently expressing high levels of satisfaction with Wellington’s activities and attractions. The star performers are its sporting events, its concerts, theatre and performing arts, Te Papa and bush walks. The city continues to receive high marks for its vibrant urban atmosphere, cityscape, cuisine and scenery. It is also viewed as being a safe and friendly place to visit.”

Tim Cossar says that the survey’s results also show that visitor satisfaction is lower when it comes to core tourism infrastructure such as parking facilities and directional street signage.

“These are issues that Positively Wellington Tourism is aware of, and we are continuing to take an active role in addressing them. Our priority is to ensure that Wellington meets visitors’ needs, and that they come away having thoroughly enjoyed their time here.”


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