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Int. convention spending holds up despite slow economy

International convention spending holds up despite slow economy

Difficult economic times have seen a reduction in the numbers of people attending conventions in New Zealand in the past year but the numbers of visiting international delegates and their spending have stayed stable or increased slightly, research from the Ministry of Economic Development has found.

The second annual Convention Delegates Survey (CDS) shows that the total number of convention delegates declined by five percent to 266,000 in the year ending June 2011, led by a fall in domestic delegates. However, the number of international delegates, who account for almost half of all convention spending, increased by four percent to almost 55,000. International delegate spending was stable at $226 million.

Total delegate spending from the 2,528 conventions last year in the 10 regions participating in the survey contributed over $460 million to the economy.

The Ministry of Economic Development’s Tourism Research and Evaluation Manager Peter Ellis said the data showed the conventions and conference industry remained robust despite difficult economic times.

“There continues to be a strong market for conventions in New Zealand. International delegates are clearly attracted to New Zealand as a conference destination, bringing in almost $230 million to the country. With the economy forecast to gather momentum in the coming year, these figures are likely to increase,” said Mr Ellis.

According to the study, international convention attendees spent $3,300 each trip, excluding air fares. Typically, international convention delegates spend 7.5 nights in New Zealand, with five nights in the host region and two nights in other parts of the country. This compares to domestic delegates who spend an average of 3.3 visitor nights and $1,500 each convention.

The report was funded by the Ministry of Economic Development, Conventions Incentives New Zealand and regional conventions bureaux. To download the full report go to: http://www.tourismresearch.govt.nz/cds.

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