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Record increases for Chch conference business

News Release
30 August 2006

Record increases for Christchurch conference business

Hot on the heels of the Tourism Awards in which Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism (CCT) received the award for Tourism Service Provider, Christchurch & Canterbury Convention Bureau (CCCB), the business tourism arm of CCT has announced its most successful year ever.

Christchurch (South Island, New Zealand) has recorded the largest number of conference events ever in the city, adding in excess of $42 million direct spend to the Christchurch and Canterbury economy annually.

This trend is set to continue, with a raft of large conferences booked for Christchurch in the coming year, cementing Christchurch’s reputation as New Zealand’s convention capital.

Christchurch recorded 699 conferences during 2005-2006, with the average length of stay longer and the number of delegates higher than ever before. Statistics measured for CCCB by Angus &Associates showed residential conferences had a 34% increase in the number of delegates and a 41% increase in delegate days from the previous year.

The direct economic impact of the convention industry to Christchurch and Canterbury was measured at $42 million to year end June 30, 2006. Indirectly, the region also benefits many fold from other spending by business visitors during their stay.

CCCB predicts continuing growth through 2006 and 2007, with several major international conventions scheduled, including the Continence conference in November with 2000 delegates, worth $2.5 million alone to the city, and Evolutions in June with 1000 delegates, followed by the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

A delegate rebate scheme, launched late last year, has been successful in attracting many large conferences to Christchurch. Already 31 applications have been approved, contributing more than $13 million of new conference business to Christchurch, and over 26,000 accommodation room nights.

CTT chief executive, Ian Bougen said convention business is drawn to Christchurch with the benefits of New Zealand’s largest and only purpose-built convention centre, excellent hotel infrastructure, off-site dining attractions and excellent access through an international airport.

“The business tourism market is especially lucrative as hotels, taxis, restaurants and retail outlets all benefit from business visitors during traditionally low-season months for leisure tourism,”he said.

Australian and other international business visitors have a higher yield per visitor than domestic visitors and represent a very beneficial 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.

Annette Pendergast, CCCB manager said for the past two years CCCB had been running a successful South Island destinational marketing campaign directly targeting the Australian conference sector, and this was paying off for Christchurch.

Australian business tourism arrivals to New Zealand have been on the increase nationally, with Statistics New Zealand recording a 17.3% increase in Australian business tourist arrivals in 2005.

Christchurch has benefited most from growth in the Australian business tourism market with an increase across both corporate and association events of 32%, nearly double the national growth.

“Corporate meetings represent half the events held in our city, however association events are traditionally larger, and they are booked one to two years ahead,” Annette Pendergast said.

“We are delighted to see these economic benefits for Christchurch and Canterbury, and we look forward to maintaining these arrival numbers, especially as our current focused marketing efforts continue,” Ian Bougen said.

ENDS

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