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Chch hosts NZ's largest business tourism event

News Release

17 July 2006

Christchurch hosts New Zealand's largest business tourism event: MEETINGS 2006

Christchurch this week hosts New Zealand's largest business tourism event, MEETINGS 2006, the only annual dedicated New Zealand gathering for the conference, meetings, and travel incentive industry, on 19 and 20 July at the Christchurch Convention Centre.

Key international and domestic conference buyers will be officially welcomed to the city tomorrow (18 July) at a Maori cultural showcase event, Haere Mai MEETINGS 2006, hosted by Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau (CCCB), the business tourism unit of Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism (CCT).

Christchurch's innovative Delegate Rebate Scheme, administered by CCCB, has been successful in attracting many large conferences to Christchurch since its launch late last year. Already 24 applications have been approved, contributing $10.3 million of new conference business to Christchurch, and over 19,000 accommodation room nights. Business tourism is worth well in excess of $40 million per year to the Christchurch economy.

CCCB predicts continuing growth in the large conference sector through 2006 and 2007, with many association-style events scheduled for Christchurch, including the recent International Inner Wheel Convention with 1500 delegates, and UNESCO's World Heritage Convention in June 2007.

Christchurch achieved a 33% growth in Australian delegate numbers in the past 12 months, double the national growth.

Last year Christchurch recorded the largest number of conference events ever in the city, with a 10% increase in annual delegate numbers and a 21% increase in large conference events during 2005. The city hosted 690 conferences with 42,297 delegates.

CCT Chief Executive, Ian Bougen said Australian and international business visitors have a higher yield per visitor than domestic visitors and represent a very lucrative market for the region.

"As well, they are attracted to opportunities for exploring the South Island while they are here, and extended stays provide even more revenue for the wider tourism industry, often during the off-peak season," he said.

CCCB manager, Annette Pendergast said with its convention centre, an international airport close to the city and South Island scenic and cultural attractions on the doorstep, Christchurch is an ideal city to hold large conferences.

"Christchurch Convention Centre remains New Zealand's largest and only purpose-built convention facility, while the support of an excellent international airport and the appeal of a South Island destination draws international conventions here," she said.



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