Conference and Incentives New Zealand chief executive, Alan Trotter is due to receive the Life Membership and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the PCO Association for his significant contribution to the business tourism sector as he prepares to step down after 20 years in the top job.

Trotter says he is proud of his achievements and happy to leave the industry at a time of great excitement and promise, and in better shape than when he started.

“Twenty years ago people couldn’t even spell the word convention,” Mr Trotter said, who will make his exit on March 31, 2014.

“It was the forgotten sector of tourism, a Cinderella, so I do have a certain pride that I’ve played a small part, with a lot of others, in getting to the attention of local and central government the importance of the sector and the importance of infrastructure.”

He was responsible for the inauguration of MEETINGS, now recognised as among the best business event tradeshows in Australasia, as well as introducing the Conference Assistance Programme (CAP) into New Zealand.

Under Trotter’s tenure, CINZ membership grew from 20 to 320 and a marketing and sales office was established in Sydney to increase business within the Australian market.

Reflecting on his time at CINZ as “bloody good”, Mr Trotter said he is now looking forward to traveling through Europe and taking some time to smell the roses.