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MEETINGS concludes in colour at Skyline Rotorua

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MEETINGS concludes in colour at Skyline Rotorua
Trade show MEETINGS wrapped up a big three days for New Zealand’s business events industry on Thursday night.

Working to the theme ‘Rio comes to Rotorua’, the closing celebration for Business Events Industry Aotearoa’s (BEIA) business events show was gold sequined tablecloths, brightly dressed delegates, luge rides and food stations offering culinary delights from around the world.

The DJ and live band combination that started up later in the evening was aptly described to micenet as “joyful” by an attendee from the middle of a tightly packed dance floor which did not empty for hours.

Earlier on Thursday, just before the show floor closed for 2024, three exhibitors were recognised in the annual best stand awards.

Christchurch won best regional stand – the gin cocktail activation from Christchurch Airport within the stand’s footprint certainly drew a constant crowd and made its presence felt around the whole show, with brightly coloured drinks everywhere – while Millennium Hotels and Resorts won best individual stand. Local exhibitor, Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa, stood out in the record 35 first-time exhibitors to claim best stand amongst the new exhibitors.

As one of Rotorua’s most notable new developments for the business events sector, Wai Ariki hosted plenty of MEETINGS attendees throughout last week for the pre-show famil – during which micenet visited – as well as for a Business Events Wellington client event and as part of the complimentary activities for day buyers on Wednesday evening. The attraction offers wellbeing experiences based in the traditions of the local Māori iwi Ngāti Whakaue.

In all, MEETINGS 2024 had over 1,200 participants. With 246 stands for 205 organisations, the show welcomed 217 hosted buyers and media from Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and North America and over 150 day buyers from New Zealand.

MEETINGS concludes in colour at Skyline Rotorua
The gin cocktail activation by Christchurch Airport on the Christchurch stand pulled a crowd

In addition, more than 60 students studying hospitality, event management and tourism from Toi Ohomai in Rotorua attended MEETINGS, while the show also hosted 10 New Zealand association leaders from across the interconnected tourism, hospitality and events sectors.

The students from Toi Ohomai worked with the MEETINGS organising team, walked the show floor and attended sessions which highlighted their potential role in the business events ecosystem and potential career pathways in the sector.

“This is a great chance for our students to learn about the latest trends and innovations in the New Zealand business events sector, while making valuable connections with industry leaders and potential employers,” said Bryon Dorrian, academic leader of tourism and hospitality at Toi Ohomai’s Mokoia campus in Rotorua.

“Attending MEETINGS allows them to see the possibilities within the industry, which will hopefully inspire them to pursue careers in this exciting field.”

MEETINGS concludes in colour at Skyline Rotorua
The luge was on the agenda in the early hours of the closing gala for MEETINGS 2024, held at Skyline Rotorua

Alongside BEIA, the 10 other related industry associations that met at MEETINGS 2024 were the New Zealand Event Association (NZEA), Hospitality New Zealand (HNZ), the Board of Airline Representatives of New Zealand (BARNZ), the New Zealand Airports Association (NZAA), Hotel Council Aotearoa (HCA), Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA), the Tourism Export Council New Zealand (TECNZ), Regional Tourism New Zealand (RTNZ), the New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) and the Backpacker Youth and Adventure Tourism Association (BYATA).

“There is a lot going on in the industry at the moment, so the opportunity to have counterparts from other associations come together at MEETINGS was an opportunity too good to miss,” said BEIA chief executive Lisa Hopkins. 

“It was also a great opportunity for the sector leaders to experience MEETINGS itself, and to feel the manaakitanga of the destination with such a warm welcome in Rotorua.

“It’s important our members understand there is collaboration, conversation and discussion across the associations on issues which matter to us all. Together we offer a singular, aligned voice to communicate our joint priorities,” she said.

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