July 25, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

Hotel Council Aotearoa (HCA) is celebrating the inking of a deal that will allow it to launch a New Zealand edition of the Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) which has been taking place in Australia for over a decade.

The new conference will keep the same letters in the acronym but tweak their meaning, with the first Aotearoa Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition set to take place at the just-reopened Pullman Auckland Hotel and Apartments on October 13, 2022.

Tours of new hotels and a welcome event will take place the day before.

While the Australian event drew a record crowd of 1,200 delegates in 2022, the New Zealand event is expecting around 250 attendees.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with AHICE and announcing a dedicated hotel industry conference for New Zealand once again,” said Hotel Council Aotearoa chair Lani Hagaman.

“It has been a tough few years for hotel sector employees and businesses, so this is a fantastic milestone for HCA as we strive to assist members on their path to recovery.”

The announcement of the new event for New Zealand comes just days before competitor hotels conference Maximum Occupancy kicks off in Auckland tomorrow, after several cancelled meetings due to the pandemic, including in 2021, where a nationwide lockdown was put in place less than a day out from the beginning of the event.

“We’ve wanted to bring AHICE to New Zealand for the last few years and are thrilled to be partnering with HCA to make this a reality,” said AHICE Chair James Wilkinson.

“We are not just planning for an October conference in Auckland but are focussed on scalability through to 2025. Our programme for 2022 and beyond will include evocative, educational and insightful keynote speakers, Q&As and panel sessions.”

The conference will take place in Christchurch and Wellington in future years.

“This partnership with AHICE is proof that the hotel sector is once again establishing itself and playing an active role in the New Zealand tourism landscape,” said HCA strategic director James Doolan.

Another dedicated accommodation conference in New Zealand, the New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference, run by Tourism Industry Aotearoa and hospitality consultancy specialist Horwath HTL Ltd, seems to have dropped off the radar, having not held a meeting since 2019 with no forward dates for another iteration.