Conference Market Growth Worth an Extra $9m to Ca
Conference Market Growth Worth an Extra $9m to Capital
The economic impact of the conference market in Wellington has increased by an estimated $9 million in the year to September, according to latest figures. Convention Activity Survey figures show the capital is bucking a national trend of decline in the sector, increasing both its market share and the number of conferences hosted.
Positively Wellington Tourism Convention Bureau Sales Manager Martin Boland credited the continued growth to Wellington’s accessibility and popularity as a destination. Increases were in multiple-day association conferences and single-day corporate events, he said.
“Wellington is always the most logical place in the country to hold a conference. Ours is a city that makes conferences easier and cheaper to organise – plus we’re the coolest city in New Zealand so delegates want to come here.”
The total number of delegate days – the best measure of economic impact of the conference market – in Wellington increased by 9% (29,791 days) in the year to September 2008, when compared with the same period the year before. At a conservative estimate that resulted in an additional $9 million spent in Wellington, Mr Boland said. The conference industry is worth over $75 million to Wellington’s economy every year.
Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive David Perks said the continued growth showed the stability of Wellington as a destination that appealed to all sectors. “Wellington is performing incredibly well right now, especially when you take the current economic climate into account. We will continue to target potential clients throughout Australasia to ensure that Wellington maintains its buoyant outlook in both the conference and leisure sectors.”
Forward conference bookings were looking very positive for Wellington and a strong event calendar in the early months of 2009 would also help, Mr Perks said. Wellington Chair for the New Zealand Hotel Council Zayne Boon said it was clear the business tourism market was still active, despite the financial crisis.
“It’s important that we continue to make sure that we market to the convention sector, especially as international leisure visitation remains uncertain.”
Mr Perks said the Wellington tourism community’s culture of ‘co-opetition’ would be vital going forward.
“What our industry does really well is work together – this partnered approach is what will see us through the challenging times ahead.”