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Loren Heaphy welcomes attendees to MEET CHRISTCHURCH Loren Heaphy welcomes attendees to MEET CHRISTCHURCH

Business events industry on show at MEET CHRISTCHURCH

Christchurch Town Hall was host venue for over 200 business event industry professionals Who gathered on 25 March for ChristchurchNZ Convention Bureau’s inaugural MEET CHRISTCHURCH showcase.

 Loren Heaphy, ChristchurchNZ’s general manager of destination and attraction says MEET CHRISTCHURCH was designed to connect the city’s venues, accommodation and event service suppliers with local meeting and event planners. “We wanted to educate planners and corporate decision-makers on the options they have here in the Christchurch and Canterbury region.”  

A diverse mix of suppliers exhibited, with 42 venues, accommodation, attractions, activities and event service businesses on show from around the region. Venues Ōtautahi, its team at the Christchurch Town Hall, and Exhibition Hire Services were key supporters of the half-day tradeshow event. Eight domestic event organisers from around New Zealand were hosted on a two-day familiarisation of Christchurch and a further 26 travel and event buyers for a full day option which included a morning site inspection of three venues and attractions, and the Te Pae Christchurch pop-up hub, with the afternoon at Christchurch Town Hall for the MEET CHRISTCHURCH exhibition. 

Over 150 decision-makers registered to attend the show – a mix of locally-based corporates, professional conference organisers, executive assistants, government departments, crown research institutes, and event managers.  

One of the attendees was event coordinator, Mirelle Liang. “I’m so pleased that I attended MEET CHRISTCHURCH as it was an awesome event and so worthwhile, it was convenient and valuable having all those amazing venues and services showcased under the one roof,” she says. I was looking for a venue for an event that I’m organising later this year and I managed to secure one, thanks ChristchurchNZ.” 

 Obviously COVID-19 has brought many challenges to the business events sector, and the convention bureau team at ChristchurchNZ has been focused on helping drive local and domestic business,” Heaphy says. Post-earthquakes the city concentrated on domestic business events, and again during COVID times. However, we are also highly focused on the Australasian and international markets, and currently bidding for large events out to 2027, to help ensure a strong pipeline of business for the city well into the future. Pre-earthquake Christchurch held 42 percent of all Australian conferencing coming to New Zealand. 

We have been at domestic conferences and tradeshows the past few months representing the city and region, and we have been focused on connecting with New Zealand-based professional conference organisers, and meetings, event and incentive planners.  

Moving forward we will get back into the Australian market, with a campaign going into Australia earmarked for May. Once we can travel, we will take the opportunity to head across the Tasman and attend key conference and trade events once again,” she says. Having venues like Christchurch Town Hall and Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre ensure we have the infrastructure to enable hosting large and complex business events.