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Millions of reasons for a new convention centre in Wellington

19 Apr 2018

WREDA is setting records in the business events sector as it eyes the greater benefits the planned new convention centre will bring to the region.

House of Travel conference award dinner at Wellington's TSB Arena
House of Travel conference, awards and dinner at TSB Arena

WREDA’s Business Events Wellington (BEW) team has secured new conferences worth more than $10 million in the three months ending March 2018, setting a new quarterly record. The year total sits at $23 million of new conferences for Wellington, with one quarter of the 2017/18 financial year to go.

WREDA’s CEO Lance Walker says it shows the city’s business event sector is thriving, proving that there’s strong demand to support the case for a new convention centre.

“Bidding and securing an international conference is extremely competitive and often takes many years of lobbying. Adding to that, many conferences are only held every two or four years and sometimes rotating between the northern and southern hemispheres, between continents, or shared around states in Australia.

“Despite these challenges, the BEW team is delivering great results for the region,” Mr Walker says.

The wins by the BEW team include the conference of a high-profile Australasian Association. With more than 650 delegates, the conference will be held across multiple venues in the region in 2019 and will be worth an estimated $1.3 million to Wellington.

Also secured is the opportunity to host the Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment (ASSBI) after extensive research undertaken by Tourism New Zealand and WREDA. The conference will attract more than 400 delegates to Wellington in 2019, bringing in an estimated $804,000 to the region.

Mr Walker says these results are more impressive when you take into consideration some of the venue constraints currently facing the city.

“The work has been done under the confines of the venue capacities we currently have in the capital. The proposed Convention Centre, with seating for around 2,000, is on the horizon and promises a bright new era in business event hosting in Wellington. It will provide a significant economic boost to the regional economy, and there is strong international interest with WREDA already taking shadow bookings for 2021 and beyond.”

It will see Wellington build on its 22 per cent share of New Zealand’s business events market – about 700,000 business delegate days a year – which is worth more than $140 million annually to the local economy.

Key facts:

  • Wellington enjoys 22% share of the business events market, second-only to Auckland
  • It equates to about 700,000 business delegate days a year
  • And contributes at least $140m annually to the Wellington economy
  • International delegates stay on average about 4 nights in the host region, and another 2 nights in another region with their pre/post travel
  • International delegates spend an average $2,151 per person during their stay
  • Tourism New Zealand offers strategic marketing and bid assistance to internationally-affiliated organisations seeking to host a conference of more than 200 international delegates in New Zealand. Assistance includes providing a financial feasibility study of the conference, bid presentation costs, international travel assistance, preparing professional documents and presentations to set bids apart and marketing strategies to improve an organisations chance of winning a bid.