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Christchurch's business tourism industry on show

News release
July 23, 2008

Christchurch's business tourism industry on show during trade expo

Christchurch will cement its position as the convention capital of New Zealand next week when it hosts the business tourism industry's largest annual gathering.

MEETINGS 2008 is being held on July 30 and 31 at the Westpac Arena in Christchurch  and showcases a diverse range of New Zealand's key destinations, venues, products and services for conventions, meetings, exhibitions, events and incentive travel programmes.

During last year's show $25 million of convention and incentive business was booked during the two days of MEETINGS, with a further $164 million worth of business planned in the subsequent six to 12 months.

MEETINGS 2008 organisers are hoping this year's event will offer the more than 180 exhibitors similar business benefits.

Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Christine Prince says the two-day business tourism expo provides a fantastic opportunity for the region to showcase its facilities and demonstrate its hosting capabilities.

"One of the reasons why we have become such a popular place for conferences and conventions is that we've got world class facilities yet we're the right size to create an intimate setting," Ms Prince says.

Last year business tourism added nearly $64 million into Christchurch's economy, with conference delegates staying an average of 2.9 days in the city. Aggressive marketing lead to a 94% per cent increase in the number of Australians coming here for conferences and conventions. Research suggests those Australian visitors add about $450 per day per person.

On average Christchurch hosts 14 conferences a week.

Ms Prince says the Australian market remains a key focus for the Christchurch Canterbury Convention Bureau, the business tourism arm of Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism, because of its close proximity and potential for growth.

"With Emirates announcing it is going to increase the number of seats it offers each week between Sydney and Christchurch from February next year it is going to be even easier for Australians to conference here.

"Once here, what we want them to do is stay for a few stays and explore the region. Christchurch is the gateway to the iconic attractions of the South Island and that is a factor conference organisers take into account when assessing destinations for their conferences," Ms Prince says.

"Ideally visiting delegates will bring their family with them and take the opportunity to have an unforgettable holiday discovering the magical playground that is Canterbury."

- Ends -

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