Business Events research cancellation 'disappointing'

Business Events research cancellation 'disappointing'

A decision to stop producing critical data could lead to missed opportunities in the business visitor space unless an alternative solution is found, the convention industry says.

On 21 February, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) informed stakeholders that it would be ceasing support of the Business Events Research Programme (BERP), previously known as the Convention Research Programme, at the end of 2019.

The branch of MBIE that produces the data advised it has shifted its focus from the production of statistics and data to the creation of more value-add products.

The BERP is currently co-funded by 14 convention bureaux around New Zealand and provides data on the Business Events Activity Survey (BEAS) and Convention Delegate Activity Survey (CDS).

The data has been critical to inform both local and central government on the value of the business events sector and its place in growing New Zealand’s visitor economy as a destination for business and innovative thinking.

The major infrastructure projects underway in Auckland and Christchurch, plus the convention centre soon to begin construction in Wellington, have feasibility studies which have incorporated this data. Other regions across New Zealand have also benefited from the data, which has helped them understand the opportunities to grow their share of business activity for their local communities.

New Zealand Convention Bureaux (NZCB) chair Amanda Graham says business events visitors were worth twice as much as an international visitor and the data had seen the government increase its investment since 2013 to attract more business events and their delegates.

'Without the CDS data, the value of the business events sector wouldn’t have been realised and the development and investment of new convention centres in the main urban centres may not have happened.'

Graham says MBIE’s withdrawal presents an opportunity to revisit the data collection and survey reporting.

The NZCB, together with both Conventions & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) and Tourism New Zealand (TNZ), has formed a high-level stakeholder working group to find a new sustainable solution and funding model. The working-group includes Auckland Convention Bureau, Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, CINZ, TNZ and the chair of the New Zealand Convention Bureaux. The group’s first face-to-face meeting will be held in Wellington on Friday.