PM's Speech At Opening of Stamford Plaza
Embargoed until 7.00 pm
Friday 3 November 2006
Rt Hon Helen Clark
Opening of Stamford Plaza
Friday 3 November 2006
Thank you Mr Ow for your invitation to me to be here this evening to celebrate the re-opening of the refurbished Stamford Plaza Auckland.
For more than twenty years, this hotel has been one of Auckland’s premier hotels, and for the last twelve years it has traded under the Stamford brand. The hotel holds a very important place in the quality accommodation sector in Auckland.
The dominant market segment for our Auckland hotels is the corporate sector, with visitors coming from both offshore and elsewhere in New Zealand. But high class, five star hotels are also critical for positioning New Zealand at the top end of the international tourism market.
Our country has enjoyed strong growth in international visitor numbers in recent years. Last year, while the total numbers were marginally down, the visitor spend was up.
For the future, it’s critical that we focus on quality and on yield per visitor. That makes investment in our top hotels like Stamford Plaza very important, and I welcome the major refurbishment which Stamford Hotels have made into their Auckland flagship.
New Zealand’s tourism strategy aims to boost the number of high-end visitors coming to our country. The discerning clients whom the Stamford attracts are of great value to New Zealand.
Stamford Plaza’s upgrade helps us reach our goals for tourism, and deliver on our promotion of quality visitor experiences in our country.
Closing a major hotel for four months raises an obvious issue: what happens to the staff when there is no trade ?
I understand that Stamford Plaza made the decision to keep all full-time staff on the payroll - re-deploying them into other areas where necessary, and also using the time to train and up-skill the workforce.
I believe the decision to keep the full-time staff on and reinvest in them was a wise one. These are times of very low unemployment, and loyal and experienced staff are a priceless asset. I am sure Stamford Plaza will not regret its decision.
I wish Stamford Plaza every success as one of the premier hotels in New Zealand and with the remainder of its massive $200 million development.
Thank you for the significant role you are playing in enabling New Zealand to cater for the top end of the international visitor market, which offers the greatest returns for our economy.