Last Thursday night, a national awards dinner hosted by Tourism New Zealand recognised the 45 academic and industry experts who won international events for New Zealand over the past year – worth a combined total of $63.8 million to the local economy.
“Tourism is one of New Zealand’s biggest export earners and will be a significant contributor as we face tough global economic conditions,” said Tourism New Zealand’s chief executive, René de Monchy.
“Business events attract high-quality visitors who enrich our visitor economy and beyond. Conferences provide an opportunity to share knowledge, forge business relationships, and showcase local research, innovation, and our unique culture.
“In the last financial year alone, New Zealand won 54 international conferences, estimated to be worth $63.8m to our local economy. A lot of that success comes down to the hard work of talented individuals whose knowledge, influence and passion attract events to our shores.
“Working in sectors ranging from indigenous education to green infrastructure, virtual reality to public health, these New Zealand industry leaders and academics worked alongside Tourism New Zealand and its convention bureau partners to bid for and secure high-profile conference wins for the country.”
Tourism New Zealand is targeting an economic impact of $135 million from event wins in the current financial year.
At BEIA’s closing conference dinner last Wednesday, chief executive of Hawke’s Bay Tourism, Hamish Saxton, received the association’s Outstanding Contributor Award for 2023.
Saxton has been at the helm of Hawke’s Bay Tourism for four years and was previously head of Tourism Dunedin for six years and with the organisation for 13.
“We are acknowledging and thanking Hamish who has contributed hugely to our industry over the course of two decades, and continues to do so,” said BEIA’s chief executive Lisa Hopkins.
“Hamish embodies his organisation’s mission statement ‘let’s get on with it’. Despite the enormous challenges presented by Cyclone Gabrielle, and the pandemic, he has been instrumental in ensuring Hawke’s Bay remains a vibrant business events destination – and that the business events sector is recognised as a valued contributor to the economy and the community.
“Earlier this year Hawke’s Bay received a prestigious honour when it was named the latest Great Wine Capital of the World, taking the total to 12 worldwide. Hamish and his team at Hawke’s Bay Tourism were behind this all the way. This global recognition is a crucial factor in the economic recovery of the industry and the wider region,” she said.