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Tourism New Zealand looks to business events to grow visitation

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Tourism New Zealand looks to business events to grow visitation
As Tourism New Zealand seeks to leverage the potential of off-peak visitation, business events are in focus.

The agency has set a target to grow international tourism to New Zealand by NZ$5 billion over the next four years, with 70 per cent of that growth to come from the country’s off-peak season which runs through autumn, winter and spring.

“Business events will play an important role in growing off-peak visitation,” said Tourism New Zealand’s general manager of New Zealand and business events, Bjoern Spreitzer.

“In 2023, 83 per cent of international delegate arrivals came off-peak, between March and November, compared to 62 per cent of holidaymakers.”

The spend of business events delegates is also significantly higher than leisure travellers, with delegates spending an average of $426 per day, 140 per cent of the $304 average spend by a leisure visitor.

This makes international business events New Zealand’s fourth largest visitor stream by spend, when considered against traveller spend by their country of residence.

While business events contributed $403 million to New Zealand in 2023, Tourism New Zealand is looking to grow the contribution of international events by targeting larger and high impact conferences which sit within New Zealand’s priority sectors. Bidding is supported by subvention funding.

New Zealand’s international business events performance has recovered well since the pandemic paused global travel and meetings. The country is back inside the top 50 countries in the rankings put out by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) for 2023, having risen from a low of hosting just five international conferences in 2021.   

“The latest ICCA Country and City Rankings show the country ranked 43rd in the world in 2023 with 56 eligible conferences, up from 56th place in 2022 with 28 conferences. 

“And there’s potential for even stronger growth going forward with our three new convention centres driving more and larger conference business to New Zealand,” said Spreitzer.

“Combined with increased air connectivity and new hotel capacity, New Zealand has the potential to attract even more off-peak and significant events.” 

The capacity increase being driven by the new infrastructure is evident in the events locked in for New Zealand in the years ahead – groups of over a thousand right up to 3,000 are now populating the country’s forward calendar.

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