Lance Walker, CEO for Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA), says any further delay in pressing forward with this development means lost opportunity for Wellington.
'World class cities need world class venues to host events. Wellington is currently missing out on conference events because we don’t have a convention centre of the right size to attract large conferences. If we don’t press go now, the simple fact is we’ll keep missing out and with it the substantial economic benefit that comes from these types of events.
'We need to remain competitive and attractive in the lucrative business events market. Auckland and Christchurch are both building new impressive facilities so whilst Wellington is currently second in New Zealand’s business events market, with $140 million of spending injected last year to the economy, that would be under threat without a purpose-built convention centre.
'But it’s also an opportunity to grow our economy. We expect an estimated additional $31 million of economic benefit per year to come with this new venue from the convention business alone.'
Walker says Wellington is currently missing out on large conference events.
'Many large organisations and conference organisers, especially those from offshore, only consider destinations with purpose-built convention centres when planning their conferences, so all their attendees can be accommodated.
'Business event visitors are also more valuable than regular tourists – spending longer in the region and spending more. Hosting business events also provides an amazing opportunity for Wellingtonians to tell their story to the world. What better way of making our place, our businesses and our people wildly famous.'
Walker says the considerable exhibition space will also be valuable.
'It will be highly beneficial to have more exhibition space. This will allow Wellington to host large scale touring exhibitions, which are growing in popularity globally. The world’s big event promoters (such as Live Nation and TEG) now operate in this area, touring exhibitions like the Lego exhibition that came to Te Papa last summer, the Harry Potter Exhibition and Van Gogh Alive.
'With the technological developments in storytelling and how they can transform a space, we’re excited by how different imaginations could bring this space to life to attract new visitors to Wellington.
WREDA also welcomes Sir Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Tania Roger and Sir Richard Taylor's plans to still create a movie museum in Wellington.
'They are Wellington’s greatest storytellers and I’m sure whatever they will create will inspire people and create another unmissable Wellington experience.'