The Australian association market presents a huge opportunity to drive business into New Zealand’s £588m conventions industry.
Speaking at the annual CINZ conference in Dunedin, Tourism New Zealand’s International Business Events and Premium manager, Lisa Gardiner, revealed that 95% of Australian associations conferenced domestically in the last two years.
Of the 5% that conferenced internationally, New Zealand had the largest share at 3% with further afield generations receiving very small share.
Gardiner said: “This is a great opportunity and definitely validates out hypothesis that there is more business available from Australian associations.”
She added: “This is a key market that many of you are targeting, and we wanted to further understand the size of the Australian Association events market to and specifically what the main drivers of destination choice were from these associations and importantly what barriers may exist that we need to counter before more meaningful work may take place.”
The research confirmed NZ as an appealing destination as some 46% of event planners confirming that they would consider bringing their business to NZ in the next two years.
The survey also identified the barriers that might preclude Australian associations conferencing in New Zealand such as flight accessibility, a lack of awareness, rotation patterns and the requirement to hold events domestically, the lack of suitable venues and expense.
Gardiner said that these barriers were similar to those identified in an earlier, albeit broader piece of research conducted in 2014, which showed that the NZ industry has further work to do in addressing some of these barriers.
She said: “This is good in that there are no new barriers, but we need to continue to address these core misconceptions in what our business events offer provides.”
Promoting New Zealand as a desirable destination is also key to success, according to Gardiner so the research also delved into what drives destination choice.
It identified the top six factors in decision-making, and crucially what is most important when considering NZ.
Gardiner said that overwhelmingly infrastructure and accessibility being the most critical points of evaluation that this decision making.
The full list comprised: accommodation, venues, getting there, getting around, export support and brand image.