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Success for Wellington Convention Industry

Media Release
Friday 11 April 2008
For Immediate Release

Diabetes Conference a Success for Wellington Convention Industry

Wellington has successfully hosted one of the country’s biggest conferences this year, the 7th International Diabetes Federation Western Pacific Congress. This success story highlights the collaboration of the Wellington convention industry, but also signals a need for greater investment in Wellington convention facilities.

The conference took place from 30 March to 2 April at the Wellington Convention Centre, and brought around 2,000 delegates to the city. It was a hugely significant conference in terms of diabetes awareness, prevention and management in the Pacific, Oceania and Asia regions, and brought together leading experts in the field. Around 70% of the delegates were international visitors, and the conference is estimated to have contributed $3 million to the Wellington economy.

“The success of this conference highlights the degree of collaboration that exists within the Wellington convention industry,” says Dean Bradley of Convention Management Services Ltd. His company was the professional conference organiser, managing the full logistics of the conference including delegate registrations, accommodation, venue set-up and programme details.

“It was no mean feat to pull off a conference of this size and nature,” says Dean. “But our job was made easy by the great working relationships we have with the Wellington Convention Centre, the Wellington Convention Bureau and service providers in the industry.”

Wellington won the conference in 2004, beating a rival bid from Hong Kong by 22-2. The bid was supported by the Wellington Convention Centre and Wellington Convention Bureau (a unit of Positively Wellington Tourism charged with promoting Wellington as a conference destination).

With a conference of this size and scale, the Wellington Convention Centre was the obvious option. However, while the Centre is able to cater to 2,430 theatre style, a separate marquee was also needed to create space for the sponsor displays and exhibitions. According to Wellington Convention Centre General Manager Neville Brown, this is one of a growing number of instances that highlight Wellington’s need to look at improved facilities for large scale conferences.

“Wellington Convention Centre has pulled out all the stops, and the feedback from delegates shows the conference was a real success. However, if Wellington wants to continue to attract conferences of this size and nature, we are likely to need an improved large scale convention facility that can handle a greater number of sponsor and trade displays.”

Wellington Convention Bureau Sales Manager, Martin Boland, agrees. “Wellington is a major draw-card for conferences, due to its compact nature and great range of hotels and meeting venues. However, we are challenged when it comes to providing exhibition facilities for large scale conferences. Other regions such as Rotorua and Marlborough are making significant investments in venue facilities for large scale conferences, and those investments are paying off,” Martin says.

“Wellington needs to step up its game, if we want to remain a competitive convention destination. We’re working with industry players to see how Wellington can improve in this area, and continue to win major conferences that deliver a high economic return to the city.”

The convention market brings a high return to the New Zealand tourism industry. International delegates spend on average $502 per day, and domestic delegates spend on average $300 per day (Horwath Asia Pacific Ltd). This is three times the leisure market international visitor spend of $178 per day, and domestic visitor spend of $83 per day (Tourism Forecasts, 2006).

ENDS

Facts about the Wellington Convention Industry:

• The conference industry is worth in excess of $120 million to the capital each year.
• On average, there are 1,000 people in Wellington each day conducting conference or meeting business.
• The Wellington Convention Bureau works with 43 partner businesses to bring conference business to Wellington. This work includes sales calls, preparation of bid documents, marketing and free advice.
• The Convention Bureau aims to bring conferences to Wellington year-round, but targets the low and shoulder season periods, such as the winter months.
ends

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