Auckland will play host to an expected audience of 1300 international delegates after a successful joint bid to host a major global livestock genetics congress in February 2018.

The World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production (WCGALP) is the premier conference for researchers and professionals involved in genetic improvement of livestock.

Delegates from around the world gather every four years to attend the congress, which is expected to make an estimated contribution of more than $3.12 million to Auckland’s regional GDP.

Dr Hugh Blair, Professor at Massey University’s Institute of Vet, Animal & Biomedical Sciences, worked with the Auckland Convention Bureau (ACB) to secure hosting rights.

Dr Blair presented the successful bid on behalf of a New Zealand consortia of animal breeders operating under Massey University’s A.L. Rae Centre at the WCGALP event held in Vancouver, Canada in August this year, beating a Polish bid.

He says that the bid to host the event in Auckland was successful thanks to a strong local and international science team preparing the congress programme, and New Zealand being a desirable destination for delegates.

“New Zealand has a proud record in livestock breeding and this is widely recognised. Hosting 1300 scientists is a wonderful opportunity for New Zealand to show off to the world what we have achieved in nearly 200 years since the first European livestock arrived.

“Having the congress in Auckland will enable us to set up mid-conference field trips with less than two hours driving to visit and experience many livestock systems. We will also be able to include grape genetics with a trip to Waiheke and forestry genetics in Rotorua.”

ACB manager Anna Hayward says the five-day congress highlights Auckland’s enviable location as an urban centre that’s close to nature.

“As well as enjoying the combination of big city style and sophistication that Auckland has to offer, delegates will also be able to easily travel to natural surroundings in Auckland and further afield, such as Northland, Waikato and the Coromandel.”

Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) international business events manager, Bjoern Spreitzer, says international events like the WCGALP provide a huge opportunity to grow the value of visitors to New Zealand.

“TNZ has been working to target key sectors where New Zealand provides world leadership and expertise to set us apart from other international destinations, so this is a great result.”

“Attracting people to New Zealand for business purposes who previously might not have visited, and helping to create lasting business relationships through the conference is an important part of our work in the sector.”

Auckland is now well positioned to secure a larger piece of the lucrative international business events market following the launch of the Auckland Business Events Plan earlier this year.