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Auckland Set To Get A Bigger Slice Of Tourism Pie

MEDIA RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2004

Auckland Set To Get A Bigger Slice Of Tourism Pie With New Skycity Auckland Convention Centre

Central Auckland businesses look set to reap benefits of more than $50 million in the next five years as a result of the new SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre.

SKYCITY’s General Manager, Sales, Kerry Rice, says the new facility adds an extra 140,000 convention delegate days to Auckland city amounting to a projected injection of more than $50 million over five years into the Auckland economy.

“There has been a huge amount of interest from both the international and national markets, with over 200 bookings for dinners, conferences and events in place over the next twelve months.”

Mr Rice said an international standard facility enhances Auckland’s competitiveness in the international convention market. “Auckland is now well placed to challenge Sydney and Melbourne for events that would normally be held over there,” he said.

“We now have a facility big enough to attract 90% of Australian conventions of between 500 and 1500 delegates. We have already secured one lucrative Australian booking and expect to see lots more coming to Auckland, looking for something new and different.”

Mr Rice said the facility has also created jobs for Aucklanders. “Around 130 jobs have been created so far and this number is set to increase with the opening of the new SKYCITY Grand Hotel next year.”

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand Chief Executive Alan Trotter said the new facility brings Auckland up to the next level as an international conference destination.

“Auckland has been lacking a custom designed convention centre and this facility sends a signal to conference organisers that New Zealand really takes this market seriously,” he said.

“We’ve had a real issue in the past seating 1000 people in one room, on one floor, the banqueting capacity, high studded ceilings, and pillarless design of the new facility are second to none,” said Mr Trotter.

Tourism Auckland Chief Executive Graeme Osborne says the new convention centre will enhance the promotion of Auckland as an outstanding conference destination and attract a greater number of business visitors to Auckland.

"Retailers, hotels, restaurants and other businesses will benefit greatly from the increased number of delegates visiting the city. Delegates will be able to make the most of their central city location and take in some of Auckland’s key tourist attractions during their stay,” says Mr Osborne.

Convention business generates around $1 billion to New Zealand of which around $250 million is from overseas delegates. It is estimated that SKYCITY’s facility will increase these earnings by 10-15%.

Auckland previously didn’t have a dedicated banqueting venue to host functions of more than 600 people. The SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre has capacity for up to 1200 (banquet function) or 1500 (theatre-style) delegates.

In the coming months the facility will host the prestigious Financial Planners and Insurance Advisors conference for 700 delegates while the Microsoft Tech Ed conference for 1500 delegates will make full use of the sophisticated on-site IT and audio visual equipment.

The facility has also received a number of bookings for large evening events such as charity balls and black tie dinners. The first function was hosting the recent Propecia Rally of New Zealand headquarters and more recently, the new convention facility hosted the Qantas Media Awards events.

The new SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre, situated on Federal Street opposite SKYCITY Auckland, opened for business on Monday 5 April 2004 and offers the largest multi-functional convention facility in central Auckland city.

Currently available for evening banqueting functions, the facility will be open for multi-day or major daytime events in late July 2004 when the construction of the SKYCITY Grand Hotel situated directly above will not be disruptive to daytime conference guests.

The $140 million development represents the largest commercial project currently underway in the city. On completion, it will comprise five floors of convention centre and another 14 levels above will be 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 bringing the total number of hotel rooms offered at SKYCITY’s inner city complex to over 700.

For enquiries and additional information phone SKYCITY sales/conference general enquiries on 09 363 6070 or visit www.skycityconventions.co.nz.


ENDS

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