All things fresh and new

Planners will have more venues and experiences to choose from when they return to New Zealand. By Adelaine Ng.

Healthy optimism is building in New Zealand for the return of business events come 2022, with new regional destinations and conferencing venues to choose from. Surviving what has been described as a “topsy turvy year” which saw a 78 per cent drop in business compared to pre-Covid times, the industry is expected to start recovering from March or April next year, beginning with the Australian market.

New Regent Street pedestrian mall, Christchurch

“The nucleus of our plan is a high vaccination rate with the aim of 90 per cent,” Lisa Hopkins, chief executive, Business Events Industry Aotearoa told TTGmice.

With 80 per cent of New Zealanders already receiving their first vaccination, that number of fully vaccinated residents is expected to grow significantly by Christmas.

“(Based on a recent report) developed by the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand, we hope to see conferences and incentives from Asia begin to land at the end of 2Q2022, into 3Q2022. Given Air New Zealand’s position that only vaccinated travellers will be able to fly internationally on their planes, as have other airlines, there will be confidence that the risk is low,” Hopkins continued.

While the impact of restrictions on business has been highly challenging, New Zealand’s regions in particular have been busy producing new offerings for the sector.

Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre opens in Christchurch in December, with Tãkina Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wellington and the New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland to follow.

“New regions have truly made their mark in the business events sector. In future, choosing a destination for an event will be challenging. We expect to see more dual destination programmes developing from beautiful rural landscapes one day, and deep rugged Fiords the next. New Zealand’s position as an aspirational incentive destination, coupled with world-class conference facilities has just been amplified,” she added.

Tourism New Zealand is also offering funding and support to encourage a steady pipeline of conferences and incentives for the future.