The future's looking bright for Wellington's business events

David Perks shares his outlook for the capital in 2023

And suddenly it's 2023.

Our borders are open, everyone is busy and in Wellington we’re looking forward to the day this year when Tākina Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre will open, execute its first event, and host the Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) MEETINGS trade show in the city for the very first time.

You'll see my outlook is positive; the impact of having tourism back will help shield the New Zealand economy from the worst of any global slowdown. As we have seen in the past, when the world is volatile, New Zealand tends to go well.

At times during the pandemic, I have to admit to moments when I was concerned that the sector would be overtaken by the dreaded Zoom call. Now, whilst I must admit that video conferencing has changed our world for the better, I do not see the value of meeting in person reduced. In fact, we have seen a reconnecting with ‘in person’ that reflects how almost every part of society has re-embraced the value of being human and interacting with other people ‘for real’.

Amongst these real events we are looking forward to hosting this year are the Life Sciences Summit in March at Shed6, which platforms thought-leaders in areas such as genetic modification, and OzCHI, a conference which focuses on research in the area of Human-Computer interaction. Speakers at these conferences highlight the strength of Wellington's connectivity to academia and politicians, as the seat of the Central Government and several tertiary institutions.

2022 was a chance to take our show on the road. The success of attending MEETINGS in Christchurch spurred us on in our endeavour to bring it to Wellington. Travelling to IMEX in Frankfurt made me realise how the rest of the world sees New Zealand, and how their perspective gives us so much opportunity in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. Going to the ICCA Congress in Kraków emphasised to me how important it is for us as individuals and organisations here in New Zealand to connect internationally.

We can take our stories overseas and learn from the amazing work being done in destinations across the world to build a business events sector that is positively impactful upon the places where conferences are held and is a critical part of a regenerative travel and tourism sector.

Three things for the year ahead:

  1. Engage with Tākina – when we open mid-year, make sure you have a reason to be there!
  2. Travel – go and learn from others and take your view of the world on the road.
  3. Respect our environment – the work we do can create a heavy footprint; let’s do everything we can to be sustainable and get to carbon neutrality.

Enjoy 2023, I’m going to.

Ngā mihi nui,

David Perks