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7 Aug 2014
New developments across Wellington’s business events sector are set to further grow demand for conferencing in the capital of cool, according to Positively Wellington Tourism chief executive David Perks.
Wellington City Council’s proposal for a purpose-built convention centre is currently out for public consultation. The public-private partnership proposal is for a 165-room Hilton hotel alongside a conference facility with around 2,500 square metres of flat floor space. It’s estimated the centre would be able to host up to 2,500 guests theatre-style, but the venue would specialise in events of up to 1,200.
The new facility – pegged for opening early-mid 2017 - is forecast to attract $35 million in new spending to the city each year, adding $12–18 million in GDP growth and creating up to 250 new jobs.
The good news isn’t just for the city’s economy, with the convention industry set to benefit from a bespoke facility perfectly positioned to make the most of Wellington’s famed attractions and hospitality, Mr Perks says.
“Wellington’s location and compact layout, plus outstanding food and entertainment options, are already an attractive proposition to business event organisers.
“The proposed convention centre would be positioned right across the road from Te Papa and the waterfront, and just a block across from the Courtenay Place entertainment precinct; it really maximises the convenience factor that makes Wellington such an efficient and convention proposition.”
Event organisers will also be able to take their pick of 5 Star accommodation, with a number of major renovation projects recently completed or currently underway.
"A $2million refurbishment of Museum Art Hotel is near completion, Bolton Hotel is set to upgrade its public areas, a brand new 130-room Sofitel luxury hotel is being developed, and InterContinental Wellington is nearing completion of its major revamp.”
Following the recent opening of its brand new Club InterContinental Guest Rooms and the Club InterContinental Lounge, the refurbished Lobby Lounge, Chameleon Restaurant and reception will be revealed in early September. Décor and technology upgrades to the nine meeting rooms will follow in February 2015.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown commended the city’s 5 Star hotels for the way they have incorporated technology into their refurbishments.
“The seamless integration of comfort, service and technology in InterContinental Wellington’s multi-million dollar refurbishment is perfectly in tune with our vision for a smart capital that is both digitally-savvy and people-friendly,” she says.
“Bolton Hotel was also among the first properties in New Zealand to install iPads in all its rooms, with a custom-built app making accessing hotel information a breeze for guests.”
Two thirds of Museum Art Hotel’s hotel rooms have been refurbished, with remaining rooms to be completed next winter.
Museum Art Hotel’s Kathy Parkin says reaction to the unique décor has been very positive.
“With theatrical use of different wall coverings and finishing touches, each room has its own unique character.”
Alongside the capital investment made by the city’s hoteliers, Positively Wellington Tourism has up-weighted its focus on business events through the creation of a new Events and Partnerships team.
“The market has demonstrated its confidence in Wellington’s business events future with the significant capital investment. Our job is to help the city leverage that investment with marketing support, and we’re investing in additional personnel to do this,” Mr Perks says.
“The new structure will see us with four people working on securing business events for the city, including two dedicated Business Development Managers who will be on the road and on the phone full-time helping conference organisers secure and plan their event in Wellington.”
For everything you need to know about running a business event in Wellington, visit WellingtonNZ.com/BusinessEvents.