CAS: Business events lead 2017 growth, delegate numbers flatten

A growing business events markets contributed to a 7% hike in the number of events in New Zealand last year, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The ministry’s latest Convention Activity Survey reported a 13% jump in the number of business events across the country, which outstripped a 3% increase in larger conference and conventions last year.

Despite the growing number of smaller events and large-scale fixtures, delegate numbers attending all events did not increase, remaining at 3.5 million in the year ended December 2017.

Delegate days also showed no change from the 2016 level, clocking in at a steady 4.3m in 2017.

Looking at just business events reveals healthy growth in this market, which comprised 68% of all events, and 42% of all delegate days.

The number of delegates at these events increased 7% from 1.49m to 1.6m in the year ended December 2017, and delegate days rose a corresponding 6% to 1.81m.

Hamilton & Waikato, Marlborough and Nelson all increased their market share of the business events market, at the expense of Auckland, Rotorua and Taupo.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) chief executive, Sue Sullivan, said: “The latest CAS report to year end December 2017 shows the boost business events give to the cities and the regions during the quieter leisure tourism season.

“Our industry recognises the importance of spreading visitation across the year by staging events outside of the peak season. Conferencing is counter-cyclical to leisure tourism, and seasonality means March to October-November are the high months of activity.”

“We are seeing a concentration of business event activity during the autumn and winter months, with small increases year on year. Regions outside the main centres like Hamilton and Waikato, Marlborough and Nelson all recording increased activity.”

Conferences and conventions, which grew 3% by number from 5,100 in 2016 to 5,300 in 2017, recorded a drop in delegate numbers and days.

The number of delegates attending conferences and conventions fell 6% from 584,600 to 550,500, and was mirrored by a 6% drop in delegate days, which came in at 0.96m in 2017.

Sullivan added: “New Zealand’s share of the international multi-day convention market is on the cusp of major growth, with purpose-built convention centres and hotel venues coming online in 2020.

“New purpose-built convention facilities in Auckland and Christchurch will give us the ability to cater for larger events from 2020.

“As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland’s continued strong position in the conference sector is key to the success of business events throughout the country, particularly as we lead to the opening of the New Zealand International Convention Centre.”

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