conferencing, the Asia Pacific region (excluding China) is on the rise. ‘It grew from 1800 in 2007 to 2750 in 2016, meanwhile North America is in a slight decline. We are feeling very confident that it’s on the rise and we at Tourism New Zealand feel that New Zealand needs to be a part of that.’ Ashford says Tourism New Zealand firmly believes there are opportunities on its doorstep. ‘Our colleagues across Asia find us easy to deal with; they enjoy coming to New Zealand and enjoy working with New Zealanders. We are focused on the Asia Pacific and working with Asian associations. ‘Our job is to ensure association groupings and conferencing have a good understanding of New Zealand’s capability of bringing their conferences here,’ she explains. Is conferencing in Asia Pacific leading the world? That was the question put to a panel of experts recently at the 2018 IACC Australia Asia Pacific Annual Conference held in Auckland. Leonie Ashford, business events bid manager for Tourism New Zealand, says conferencing in Asia Pacific is growing and New Zealand needs to be a part of it. She explains that while Europe has been the ‘powerhouse’ for international association T H E C O N F E R E N C E , I N C E N T I V E & E X H I B I T I O N M A G A Z I N E www.meetingnewz.co.nz Money talks, but it doesn’t always win MARCH/APRIL 201 8 The three musketeers of the recent educational to Hamilton Island, Chris McLean, Air New Zealand; Jenny Aitken, Business Events Australia; and Julie Ford, Hamilton Island. Check out all the news and photos from page 54.