The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) has welcomed the Wellington City Council’s commitment to invest in a new convention centre and grow the region’s visitor economy.
“Cities all over the world are building convention centres because they can see the potential, but New Zealand has been lagging behind,” says TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts.
“As a metropolitan destination, it is critical Wellington can attract conferences and conventions. Conference delegates are high spending visitors who support jobs and generate economic wealth in the accommodation, retail and hospitality sectors year round, seven days a week.
“The council has done extremely well out of previous ambitious developments it has supported, such as Te Papa and Westpac Stadium.”
While Wellington currently has some good, smaller scale conference and meeting venues, Mr Roberts says a purpose-built facility will attract significant international events.
Business events were highlighted as a high growth area in the industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework, which aims to contribute $41 billion to the economy annually by 2025, up from the current $30 billion.
“That growth will only be achieved if there is public and private sector investment in targeted infrastructure that attracts new visitors,” says Mr Roberts.
He says the decision to combine the Council-owned convention centre with a privately run Movie Museum will give it a competitive edge.
“The Movie Museum will be an exciting new attraction in its own right. One of the most successful new tourism products in New Zealand in recent times has been the Hobbiton Movie Set in the Waikato. Wellington is at the heart of New Zealand’s film industry, and the Movie Museum could potentially attract visitors on a similar scale.”