Convention visitors spent over a million nights in New Zealand last year, and international delegates generated twice as much as other visitors to New Zealand, new statistics show.
Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Chief Executive, Sue Sullivan says business events continue to be the high-value sector of New Zealand’s visitor economy.
The Convention Delegate Survey released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for the year to December 2016 show the number of overseas arrivals to New Zealand for conventions and conferences rose to 66,000, up from 63,000 in 2015. A total of 1,213,389 event days were recorded in 2016, up 19 per cent on 2015.
Multi-day convention delegates generated an estimated 1,005,000 visitor nights in New Zealand and they spent an estimated $588 million in 2016, up from $472 million in 2015.
Domestic delegates accounted for $316 million, 54 per cent of the total amount, local delegates spent $141 million – 24 per cent, and international visitors spent a total of $131 million – 22 per cent. Of the international spend, $72 million was generated from Australian visitors and $59 million from other international visitors.
Sue Sullivan says the high number of domestic delegates reflects a strong New Zealand economy. “Companies are investing in educating their teams, and domestic conference attendees are providing a boost to regional New Zealand.
“Smaller regions in New Zealand are investing in new facilities. The recently opened Napier Conference Centre, for example, has a range of domestic conferences scheduled for the next 12 months. Its first event this month was an international horticulture symposium where 86 per cent delegates were from overseas, and 14 per cent domestic.
“New Zealand’s share of the world’s multi-day convention market is set to grow once our new purpose-built facilities open in the main centres, giving us the ability to cater for much larger events,” Sue Sullivan says.
“The broader benefits of a growing business events economy are equally important. New Zealand’s business events sector provides key support for infrastructure development, business relationships, knowledge transfer and industry investment, with the benefits spreading across both city and regional economies,” she says.