Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) has launched a new business events advocate programme to ensure valuable delegations continue to visit the land of the long white cloud.

The programme was announced this week at the inaugural New Zealand Business Events Awards dinner, held by TNZ and partners Auckland Convention Bureau (ACB) and Air New Zealand.

The programme will engage thought leaders in various sectors as champions for business events and see regional programmes developed throughout the country, with the ACB the first out of the gate.

The New Zealand Business Events Awards dinner celebrated recent successes in the business events sector and acknowledged the contribution of key industry leaders. Event attendees have won a combined 29 international events representing an estimated 13,500 delegates and injecting approximately NZD$41 million into the local economy.

TNZ international business events manager, Bjoern Spreitzer said, “It’s great to see New Zealand successfully bidding for and winning international association conventions.

“Much of this comes down to the influential sector leaders who are putting their hands up to champion their field of expertise to attract key conventions to our shores.

“The advocate programme is about creating lasting relationships with these individuals so that they can continue to bid for international conferences and encourage their colleagues to do so as well,” Mr Spreitzer said.

ACB manager Anna Hayward said the Auckland Advocate Programme – which will be launched in March 2015 – is critical for Auckland and forms part of ACB’s overall strategy to encourage more business events to the region.

“The ACB team has worked with some incredibly passionate individuals over the years and is excited to harness their enthusiasm and work with them to lift Auckland’s profile on the world stage of international conferencing.

TNZ has significantly sharpened its focus on the business events sector and in the last financial year has secured seven international bids to the value of NZD$15.6 million.