The announcement by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key this week the government will construct a new convention centre in Christchurch has not included a time-line of works.

Design works for the 2000-person, 24,000 square metre facility are to be undertaken this year, however, no further details have been given on construction or completion dates.

Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive, Tim Hunter, said the announcement was good news for the city.

“The new convention centre will form the core of our tourism and hospitality sector and is going to be a catalyst for further hospitality-related investment,” he said.

Mr Hunter says pre-quake conferences were pumping around $80m a year into the Canterbury economy. It was predicted the new convention centre would provide the opportunity to grow conference and convention business by at least 40 per cent.

Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau manager Caroline Blanchfield said the announcement means the bureau can now actively pursue large international conferences for Christchurch.

“This ticks all the boxes for conference organisers and fits what the convention industry is looking for in New Zealand. It will significantly improve our ability to attract trade shows and consumer exhibitions at a national level,” she said.

“It’s versatile and connected to a vibrant city centre with provision for major hotel development around it. It’s exactly what we were after and gives us the confidence to ramp up our marketing of the city.”