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The year that's been and the year ahead

By David Perks 18 Dec 2013

Over 4 million visits worth $1.7 billion are made to Wellington every year. As 2013 comes to a close, we’ve been reflecting on the numbers that have been in the past year in the life of PWT, and looking forward to what 2014 will bring.

Snapshot of 2013

  • Domestic commercial guest nights increased by 4% and weekend rooms sold in PWT partner hotels by 6% in the year to September.
  • The number of conference delegate days hosted in the capital increased 23% to 227,000 in the year to June.
  • Come the end of December, over 22,000 transactions worth some $2.5 million will have been made at the i-SITE.
  • We have hosted over 450 media and trade in Wellington this year, as well as create and distribute 150,000 visitor guides, 525,000 mini magazines and 85,000 maps.
  • $1.5 million in publicity has been generated through our New Zealand media programme this year, while the average reach of Australian media coverage for Wellington and our partner regions is 5 million per month.
  • Increasing our subscribed digital channels to over 240,000 has helped us reach a cumulative audience of 32 million on social media each month and drove almost 2.5 million to this year.

So what will 2014 bring?

Much like this time last year, we have a clear picture of what the year ahead will bring, with a solid calendar of opportunities for ourselves and the city’s businesses to leverage.

Q1 January – March:

The events programme heats up early this summer, with cricket tests versus the West Indies and India, Sevens WellingtonNZ FestivalHomegrown, the Fringe Festival and Summer City. The early months of 2014 will also see the final chance to see Colour & Light: Impressionism from France & America and Aztecs: Conquest and glory at Te Papa.

The summer months also provide opportunity to showcase the new Rimutaka Cycle Trail and of course we trust downtown Wellington will be buzzing with people making the most of the extension of the Advent Calendar voucher validity to the end of January.

Te Papa’s double-header exhibition, China, will open in March. The quarter will close with a repeat of this year’s incredibly successful Capital Clash, with the Warriors taking on the Wests Tigers at Westpac Stadium on March 30.

Q2 April – June:

The past few years have seen the introduction of new  major and developing events in the Autumn period that the city will continue to build on and around in 2014. Wellington Fashion Week and Anzac Day AFL kick things off in April, while the international production of Annie at St James Theatre in May is sure to see the sun come out in, and the people come to, Wellington.

Avenues Event Management is further developing and refining the exciting Handmade festival on Queen’s Birthday weekend, while an extension of capacity for the Wellington Marathon will provide us with further opportunity to build on later in June.

Q3 July – September:

Winter will again heat up with BeervanaVisa Wellington On a Plate and the World of WearableArt™ Awards. We also expect to see the city build on what has been a highly successful year of sports events around this time.

Q4 October – December:

This month’s release of the second film in The Hobbit Trilogy again puts Wellington at the forefront of New Zealand’s story of ambitious creativity, innovation and lifestyle. With the films being central to Tourism New Zealand’s marketing strategy, we will be provided with much opportunity to showcase Wellington as a film centre and urban destination up to and surrounding the release of the final installment in December 2014.

This year Wellington International Airport has already again drawn attention to the Middle of Middle-earth through the addition of a further fantastic installation in the main terminal.

The latter part of the year is a period where, in years gone by, we’d also expect to be enjoying a major concert or two. We are keenly aware that these have been lacking in the past few years – in part driven by the decreasing number of acts who will now perform in stadiums.

Wellington City Council, Westpac Stadium and PWT will be working closely together to address this by devising a targeted strategy to identify those acts still working stadiums and proactively put forward our city’s case. The same approach will be applied to major international sports opportunities.

Looking further ahead…

Speaking of major international sports opportunities, the groundwork is also already going into building towards and leveraging two significant events on the schedule for 2015:

Cricket World Cup 2015

Wellington will host four games and England for 10 days. We’ll definitely see one, likely two BLACKCAPS matches. Media, viewership and visitor numbers will be significant.

FIFA U20 World Cup

Wellington will be one of seven host cities. Once the schedule is revealed, our city’s job will be to again cement our place as New Zealand’s home of football, maximising the domestic tourism opportunity for June and leveraging the global media opportunity.

As well as these major sporting celebrations, 2015 will also see significant commemorations:

ANZAC Day 2015

WW1 commemorations begin on 28 July 2014, building towards Gallipoli centenary celebrations on Anzac Day 2015. The latter date will be the most significant day of remembrance for those of us who call New Zealand and Australia home.

The government and the city will invest in this and as New Zealand’s capital we need to be ready to support them so that Wellington best tells the story of this country’s most significant moment of remembrance.

The events and experiences that Te Papa (for example, the announced development of a ‘trench experience’ with Sir Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor) and our other galleries and museums will create will be an important backdrop to Wellington in 2015.

The team and I look forward to working with our industry and city partners to make the most of the above opportunities for the city.

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