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Convention Centre On Track For April Opening

18 March 2004

Media Release For Immediate Publication

Skycity Auckland Convention Centre On Track For April Opening

The new SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre opens for business next month, with its first undertaking involving hosting the Propecia Rally of New Zealand headquarters.

When it opens on April 5, SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre will provide the largest multi-functional convention facility in central Auckland City with capacity for up to 1200 (banquet function) or 1500 (theatre-style) delegates.

SKYCITY's General Manager Sales, Kerry Rice, said that the SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre has been extremely well received by the industry, with forward bookings already in place through to 2006. Both 2004 and 2005 are filling up fast with confirmed large conferences.

"We have been very pleased with the response to date from New Zealand, Australia and from further afield."

"The centre will offer international standard facilities for large-scale indoor functions which have been previously lacking in Auckland City. Up until now, large events have been logistically difficult to organise as Auckland hasn't had a dedicated banqueting venue to host functions of more than 600 people."

Tourism Auckland CEO Graeme Osborne says he believes that large multi-day conferences being held at the new conference centre will not only result in increased travel to Auckland but also extended visitor stay. "Auckland had a great need for conference facilities with larger capacity.

The SKYCITY Auckland conference centre is state of the art and will enhance Auckland's competitiveness in the international arena. Delegates will be able to make the most of their central city location and take in some of Auckland's key attractions during their stay," says Mr Osborne.

The centre will be open for night banqueting functions from April to July only while heavy construction continues on the SKYCITY Grand Hotel, above the convention centre. SKYCITY will launch the centre officially in late July 2004. The first grand scale conference confirmed is the prestigious Financial Planners and Insurance Advisors conference for 700 delegates.

Situated opposite SKYCITY Auckland, on Federal Street, the $140 million development represents the largest commercial project currently underway in the city. It will comprise five floors for the new convention centre and another 15 levels above it, to become the new SKYCITY Grand Hotel (scheduled to open in April 2005).

The $75 million five-star SKYCITY Grand Hotel will provide 316 rooms of luxurious accommodation in the heart of the city, featuring a full range of guest services, fine dining, private club lounge and a luxury health and beauty spa.

SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre and SKYCITY Grand Hotel will be linked to SKYCITY's main site by two air bridges.

"This link means the existing SKYCITY Hotel can work in unison with the new SKYCITY Grand Hotel to provide nearly 700 rooms of accommodation on the one site - both linked to the city's largest and newest convention facilities," says Mr Rice.

The SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre and SKYCITY Grand Hotel developments are part of a major SKYCITY Auckland expansion project which also included extension to the main gaming floor, the development of a new gaming floor and bar (Bar3 and Play casino which opened in December 2003) and improvements to Sky Tower facilities, which included the addition of a new retail store at the base of Sky Tower.

SKYCITY Auckland is currently in the process of hiring and training around 120 staff in preparation for the April opening of the SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre.

Additional facts:

SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre includes:

- Two levels dedicated to conferencing, exhibition and banqueting space - totalling more than 5000m2.

- Large column free spaces and high rooms.

- Leading NZ artwork throughout the complex.

- A 1300m2 main room capable of seating up to 1500 delegates theatre style or 1200 for a banquet.

- A second main room with 1040m2 of conference/exhibition space.

- Two 670m2 foyers.

- Nine breakout rooms.

- Two boardrooms, two business offices, and business centre facilities.

- All construction costs were spent locally including consultants.

- Nearly all the furniture is manufactured locally.

SKYCITY Grand Hotel includes:

- 15 levels of contemporary elegance and facilities (20 levels above Albert St) including:

- Two restaurants- a premium restaurant on Level 3 and Breakfast restaurant on Level 7.

- Club lounge.

- Stylish bar.

- Lap pool, gym, sauna, clubroom etc located on Level 7.

- Foyer located on level 3 off Federal St.

- 24-hour service by dedicated staff.

- Qualmark 5-star rating.

- 316 rooms including some suites located over 13 floors.

- CBD doorstep location.

- Full range of guest services including luxury spa.

- Latest IT connectivity and technology.

- Leading New Zealand artwork throughout the complex.

For enquiries and additional information phone SKYCITY sales/Conference general enquiries on 0064 9 363 6070 or www.skycityconventions.co.nz.

ends


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