CINZ has unveiled a new strategy to drive the value of the New Zealand conference and meetings market to $750m by 2020.
Speaking at the association’s annual conference in Dunedin, chief executive Sue Sulivan called this a “bold goal”.
Announcing the new three-year plan to 2020 Sullivan said: “As with any strategy there is a bold goal that we are working to: 2020, £750m. It is achievable, yes, as we currently sit at £558m.”
She said that the number “has some robust research behind it” drawing on the resources of Tourism New Zealand and MBIE.
The meetings and events sector is recognised as a high-value sector of the New Zealand tourism market with international delegates found to spend almost double the average spend per night of all international visitors.
The latest research from MBIE into delegate spend put the average per night spend at $334, excluding partners and airfares, and the average stay at six nights.
The estimated total spend by international delegates came ot $131m on conferences of more than one day according to the MBIE Convention Delegate Survey (CDS) December 2016.
As well as being a high-value visitor, Sullivan said that that the cost to secure a conference delegate is somewhat cheaper than the cost to secure a traditional tourist on a coach.
“I have had interesting conversations with a number of people within the industry around the value of the delegate and the cost to secure a delegate.
“It is a widely known fact with hoteliers that the C&I channel regardless of brand or city say that the channel delivers the highest yielding guest at the lowest cost.”
Sullivan also talked about the non-financial benefits of the conference and meeting industry using the phrase “economic engines” .
She explained that meetings are not just about tourism revenue, but are are strategic tools that advance economic policies, bring knowledge relationship talent, attract golanl business and professional leaders and raise destination profile in specific economic sectors.”
She added that they are also a “key element in economic development strategy” highlighting that the destinations that understand and use this to their advantage will get “great returns from the industry”.