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New construction sharpens NZ tourism and meetings edge

May 31, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Tourism infrastructure is going ahead in New Zealand at a cracking pace, as evidenced by the amount of construction taking place.

New venues, technology, activities, and sustainability initiatives were all hot topics of discussion for delegates this week at New Zealand’s largest business events tradeshow, CINZ MEETINGS.

The two-day event, which wrapped up in Auckland last night, hosted 650 international and domestic buyers who met with 192 exhibitors from across 17 New Zealand regions.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) chief executive Sue Sullivan says the opening of new convention facilities in Auckland and Christchurch next year is an exciting prospect for international organisers looking for modern large-scale venues in desirable locations.

“This, along with the new hotels that have opened and are soon to open, provide our cities with first-class infrastructure to support these world-class convention centres,” she said.

Delegates with a difference. CINZ MEETINGS in Auckland

“Our influential contingent of international buyers and media at MEETINGS 2019 left inspired about New Zealand as a business events destination, and what we can offer for large events, as well as for high-end, bespoke incentive travel.

“The quality of our exhibitors has created a real buzz amongst our buyers, and together they have held over 6000 meetings, and will be leaving MEETINGS with strong business signed,” she says. “Last year NZD 60 million of business was signed on the show floor.”


Over 30 Australian organisers were given the opportunity to explore New Zealand before MEETINGS, and another 20 Australian buyers are on their way to Christchurch tomorrow to experience first-hand the transformation of the city including its new venues, hotels and activities.

As for tourism infrastructure, the number of cranes gives an idea of the amount of building going on. Cranes mean construction, and the latest Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index (which measures these things!) states that 98 fixed cranes stood in Auckland as of 25 February 2019. That’s an all-time high for Auckland, and high on international standards as well.

Sullivan says new and coming infrastructure across New Zealand includes the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) in downtown Auckland. The country’s largest purpose-built convention centre, it will handle events of up to 4000 people. It should open by October 2020.

At CINZ MEETINGS in Auckland

Other developments Sullivan mentioned:

  • Auckland: Apart from the NZICC, the Aotea Centre refurbishment in Auckland includes a cultural hub positioning, NZD 35 million spend. Numerous hotels are coming online, from three to five star.
  • Rotorua: the Howard Morrison Centre will open in 2020.
  • Hawkes Bay: the Opera House reopening in January 2020 after significant refurbishment.
  • Wellington: Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre, next door to Te Papa museum and slated to open in 2022.
  • Christchurch: Te Pae, a big new meeting space, opening 2020. Christchurch Town Hall – it reopened in March 2019. Numerous new hotels coming online.
  • Kaikoura: Sudima Hotel opening 2020
  • Invercargill: Inner city redevelopment; two new hotels.

Fabulous food wafts down in balloons at the new SO Auckland hotel

Rene de Monchy, Tourism New Zealand’s director of commercial, said international business events had delivered NZD 500 million to New Zealand over the past five years.

“New Zealand is punching above its weight as a conference destination, winning more conference business than ever before. We’re outperforming much larger, more easily accessible destinations due to our reputation for manaakitanga (hospitality) and hosting,” he said.

Tourism New Zealand works with the industry across New Zealand to attract business events to the country.

“International business events are a crucial part of our economy, helping our communities and knowledge grow,” de Monchy said.

How it will look. New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland

“Business events attract high value visitors in the off peak and bring global experts to our country to collaborate with our experts.”

Speakers at CINZ MEETINGS agreed that more data was needed to accurately measure all aspects of business events and help show the benefit the industry provided.

Sue Sullivan said discussions were underway with New Zealand’s taxation authorities on the prospect of zero-rating the GST on international delegate registration.

Action on this was essential to ensure New Zealand remained competitive with Australia, she said.

“Australia were just that bit nifty and changed their rules to zero-rate the GST on international delegates in October 2016. Immediately we were 15% more expensive for an international conference.”

CINZ is working to level the trans-Tasman playing field.


Written by Peter Needham

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