Professional conference organisers will be briefed on plans for the rebuild of Christchurch and other exciting developments taking place in the city during Australasia’s premier business tourism expo in Melbourne next month.
Representatives from the Christchurch & Canterbury Convention Bureau and venue management company Vbase will be on hand to provide delegates at AIME 2012 with information on how the city is recovering from the quakes and what exciting developments are planned as part of the rebuild.
“Exciting times lie ahead for Christchurch as the city begins rebuilding its city centre, transforming it into a modern, vibrant, eco-friendly space that will wow visitors for decades to come. With new attractions, like its ultra-modern container mall, popping up constantly, Christchurch is a city in transition and a destination to keep an eye on,” says CCCB manager Caroline Blanchfield.
“It is very important that we keep people fully informed about the progress the city is making and what is planned in terms of new facilities and attractions so that Christchurch remains in their thinking when they plan for future conferences and events.”
One of the new developments in the pipeline is the extension of the conferencing facilities at the Air Force Museum at Wigram. An extra 1500sq m will be added to the venue this year, giving it the capacity to cater for conferences of up to 900 people from early 2013.
“What many people don’t realise is that although we’ve lost our Convention Centre and our Town Hall there is still some great conference and meeting venues in Christchurch – places like the Air Force Museum, CBS Canterbury Arena, and the Addington Events Centre – so we are still a viable business tourism destination. That’s reflected in the fact New Zealand Merino has chosen Christchurch as the destination for its annual conference in April,” says Ms Blanchfield.
With 400 delegates, the conference will be largest held in Christchurch since the February 2011 earthquake.
“Many of our hotels also offer great venues for smaller conferences and meetings so there are still plenty of options for conferencing in Christchurch. At the moment our ability to handle large conferences and events is somewhat constricted by a shortage of accommodation, but that situation will change as more hotels re-open.”
The first of the big central city hotels to re-open, Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch is due to welcome visitors back through its doors on March 1. Several other central city hotels plan to re-open over the next 12 months.
“We’re steadily building back capacity,” Ms Blanchfield says. “We’re a city in transition but the outlook for the future is very promising. Lonely Planet has already identified Christchurch as one of the most exciting cities in New Zealand and the influential global magazine Foreign Policy puts Christchurch at number 9 on its list of the top 16 global cities that will shape the next century.”
The whole Canterbury region is perfect for conferences and incentive travel.
A growing portfolio of venues, attractions and activities is adding to the Canterbury region’s appeal as a destination for conferences, conventions, and incentive travel.
Stretching from the majestic Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean the Canterbury region is one of the most diverse in New Zealand and offers some fantastic venues for corporate get-togethers and group gatherings.
“Whether you fancy conferencing at an alpine thermal resort, in a French-inspired seaside settlement, or on New Zealand’s tallest mountain Canterbury can offer it all,” says Caroline Blanchfield.
“We’ve got fantastic conferencing venues dotted all around the region, all of which have been designed to make the most of our spectacular scenery and to provide the wow factor the C&I industry is constantly searching for.”
Christchurch and Canterbury will have two representatives at AIME next month, Jan Whiteside from the Convention Bureau and Janelle Brooking from Vbase. They will be on hand at Convention and Incentives New Zealand’s new stand to answer people’s questions about the current situation on the ground in Christchurch and about what’s planned for the rebuild of the quake-damaged parts of the central city.
AIME 2012 is on at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from February 21 to 22. It is regarded as a must-attend event for event organisers and is expected to attract delegates from throughout the Asia Pacific region.