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Daily Conference Delegate Spend $700 Plus

Daily Conference Delegate Spend $700 Plus

A recent international conference in Auckland has highlighted the value of the conference market to the national economy with each of the 2,500 delegates spending on average $773 per day during the conference.

“The international airfares need to be added to this figure as well, which shows the significant value of the conference industry to New Zealand. This daily delegate spend is more than five times the average daily spend of international tourists to the country,” says Alan Trotter, Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Chief Executive Officer.

Overall the 6-day International Bar Association (IBA) Conference held last August injected nearly $20 million into the economy, according to a report by Horwath Asia Pacific Ltd, Hotel, Tourism and Leisure Consultants. It also shows that 65 percent of delegates participated in pre or post tour options spending $407 each per day during this time.

“Accommodation was the biggest beneficiary with a $191 per day spend, with retail second at $102 per day. This shows that it isn’t only hotels and venues that benefit from conferences but the whole economy does. And not just the region the conference is held either, delegates then explore the country further after the conference spending more money.

“While cynics might say that this is a lawyer’s conference and they have the money to spend and isn’t typical of conference business in New Zealand I would disagree. This is exactly the type of conference we are working hard to attract into New Zealand and is typical of the spend they will bring. We are actively targeting professional conferences; medical – cardiologists and radiologists – lawyers and accountants to conference in New Zealand,” Mr Trotter says.

The govt has recognised the value of the convention industry and has entered into a funding agreement with CINZ to enable it to greatly increase the number of international conventions coming to New Zealand. As a result of this initiative CINZ have already placed five bids with one success to date and four other decisions pending.

“The successful bid so far is for an international medical conference for 2,500 delegates and will result into similar money being injected into the economy as the IBA conference,” Trotter says. “It is fantastic that the Government has recognised the economic value of the industry to New Zealand and now they can see the investment is beginning to pay off.”

Mr Trotter says the conference industry is also invaluable to New Zealand because most conferences are held during the winter months, which is the off-season for general tourism.

“New Zealand is a small country and with the talk of the stress tourists are placing on the environment it’s very obvious that we should be targeting conference business because it’s a winter market, when tourism numbers are down and delegates are also spending five times that of the general tourist while they are here.

“Seasonality is an issue for New Zealand and because of our size can really be tough for the industry, which is why we are actively attracting visitors to the country in the tourism off-season, which is exactly the right time for the conference market.”

To further attract conference business to New Zealand the annual MEETINGS 2005 tradeshow begins at SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre next week. The two-day event is an opportunity for suppliers – hotels, venues and activity operators – from around the country to showcase their product to buyers, both local and international.

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