Tourism New Zealand

Meet here we’re ready 2 Business events critical to recovery Stephen England-Hall, chief executive of TourismNew Zealand. Photo: SUPPLIED Stephen England-Hall, Tourism New Zealand chief executive Business events are worth every dollar. But beyond that, they are essential to help businesses solve problems, build teams, inspire staff, change tack, create opportunities ...... Kia ora, nau mai, haere mai. In this publication Tourism New Zea- land partnered with Stuff to take a detailed look into New Zealand’s business events and conference industry. We talk to business owners, event and venue managers and industry experts about the importance of meeting face-to-face. In this collection of articles we show- case the talent, innovation, preparedness and skill of New Zealand’s business events industry to remain operational and ready to serve you in 2021. The impact of Covid-19 on our $40.9 billion tourism industry has been well documented. Tourism was our largest export earner and employed more than 220,000 people. Kiwis have done a fantastic job and answered the call to do something new, explore New Zealand and support the sec- tor to help Aotearoa’s recovery. But it’s not enough. New Zealand will still have a $12.9 billion revenue gap per annum without international visitors. Kiwis spend on average $155 per per- son per day and don’t tend to book experiences like guided tours, helicopter flights, or private dining when we hol- iday at home. Business events will play a critical role in filling this gap and supporting economic recovery. The numbers don’t lie: the average domestic spend per person when attending business events outside their home region is $533 per day – over three times what we spend on a trip away with friends and family. Large international conferences, national meetings, incentive reward programmes for global corporates, and team away days contributed to a business events industry worth well over $455 million to New Zealand’s economy in 2018. And these events play an important role in enriching New Zealand, both econ- omically and in delivering broader so- cietal and knowledge benefits. It’s these meetings that fill convention centres and hotels mid-week and in the quieter shoulder seasons. It’s these longer lead-time bookings that are vital to preserving jobs year-round. It’s these events that sustain a much wider ecosystem of support services, often smaller Kiwi companies – florists, cater- ing, audio visual suppliers. It’s these in- centive rewards that keep the high-end guided fishing trips and adventure activi- ties afloat. Business events are worth every dol- lar. But beyond that, they are essential to help businesses solve problems, build teams, inspire staff, change tack, create opportunities, look to the future – critical actions as we face the many challenges Covid-19 has brought. Our research tells us businesses value getting their people together: 94 per cent of New Zealand businesses, associations, and not-for-profit organisations we surveyed are intending to meet off-site in the next 18 months. The majority view is that technology is unlikely to fully replace the need for in-person confer- ences in the long-term. If I could achieve one more thing by the end of 2020, it would be to get every New Zealand business that hasn’t yet met face to face after lockdown to engage with their local convention bureau, profes- sional conference organiser or favourite meeting location to book their next event and set up 2021 for a positive future. ❚ #meethereNZ