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Marlborough a contender’ for conference business

28 November 2007 For immediate release

Marlborough ‘officially a serious contender’ for conference business

Marlborough has been described as ‘serious province’ and a contender for major convention and conference business following the official opening of the new Marlborough Convention Centre at the weekend.

Over 260 guests got their first look at the $3.95 million dollar conference centre during a colourful gala evening celebration on 24 November. The Marlborough Convention Centre is part of the new Combined Clubs and Conference Centre (a $16 million project) next to the Taylor River in central Blenheim. The convention centre part of the project was driven by Marlborough District Council and supported by the combined clubs.

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman addressed the crowd at the opening, highlighting the opportunity for Marlborough to now capitalise on the development of the region’s first purpose built convention centre. He said tourism in Marlborough is poised for growth that should exceed the four percent average annual increase forecast nationally for the next five years.

New Zealand-owned hotel group Scenic Circle Hotels has been granted a lease to manage the convention centre. The company already has significant investment in Marlborough, with the Scenic Circle Blenheim Country Hotel just a short walk from the centre. As part of its agreement with the council, the hotel company will expand the property by adding 50 new rooms, which will help meet the need for more four-star- plus accommodation for large conference groups – infrastructure Mayor Sowman says the region must have.

The mayor said Scenic Circle Hotels’ involvement will help take the convention centre to another level and he complimented the company for its commitment. He praised Scenic Circle Hotels for setting an example in supporting not only the region, but New Zealand industry as a whole, with its commitment to a ‘Buy Kiwi Made’ philosophy. The company focuses on finding New Zealand suppliers for goods and services, especially for the food and wine it serves to guests.

“Scenic Circle Hotels has a long history of investing in regional centres and helping provinces grow, and this is the next region we are seriously focusing resources in,” says Scenic Circle Hotels director Stuart McLauchlan. “Similar investment in areas such as the West Coast over a long term has had significant impact on the prosperity of those communities. We now have a strong commitment to providing investment, infrastructure and expertise that will be a boon for Marlborough.”

Confidence is very high that the new centre has pulling power to bring in new business from across the country, and from across the Tasman. Guests at the opening included corporate, conference and incentive organisation representatives from throughout New Zealand. They were treated to an extravaganza event with circus themed entertainment that showcased what the new centre was capable of in terms of entertainment, capacity and organisation – and they appeared to be uniformly impressed.


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