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Record quarter for Chch conference business

News Release
27 November 2006

Record quarter for Christchurch conference business

Christchurch (South Island, New Zealand) has maintained spectacular conference market growth, with an eight percent increase in conference numbers and a 24% increase in delegate numbers for the first quarter of this financial year July to September, compared with first quarter 2005.

Annette Pendergast, Manager of Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau (CCCB) said the first quarter was traditionally the busiest business tourism period.

“This exceptional first quarter is a promising indication of a solid year ahead as we cater for a larger number of conferences. Most importantly, large international associations are choosing to hold their conventions in Christchurch.”

This week 1500 delegates are attending the International Continence Conference, bringing at least $2.5 million to the city over five days. Christchurch is host to the world’s largest gathering of doctors, surgeons, nurses, physicists, physiotherapists, bio-engineers and scientists specialising the area of continence medicine at the 36th annual meeting of the International Continence Society, 27 November to 1 December 2006 at the Christchurch Convention Centre.

In 2007 Christchurch is booked to stage several major international events including the World Seed Congress in May, Evolutions in June with 1000 delegates, followed by the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Convention in late June.

Eighty percent of conference delegates to Christchurch originate from New Zealand and Christchurch has seen a strong 41% growth in the number of corporate delegates visiting from the North Island.

Ian Bougen, chief executive of Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism said it is essential to maintain this important domestic market sector, however a key focus is on developing growth for international visitor arrivals, especially trans-Tasman visitors.

“Last year we saw a 32% increase in Australian business tourism visitors and we aim to maintain this growth level over the coming 12 months.”

Last financial year (ended June 30, 2006) Christchurch 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. Indirectly, the region also benefits many fold from spending by business visitors during their stays.

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 and Associates showed residential conferences had a 34% increase in the number of delegates and a 41% increase in delegate days from the previous year.

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.

ENDS

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