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From NCC (New Zealand) Ltd and MEETINGS 2004

MEDIA RELEASE 14 July 2004
For immediate use


For three days in July, 20 - 22, the red carpet will be rolled out to greet 150 key buyers of international meetings and events coming to Christchurch for MEETINGS 2004. It is the annual industry trade show that exclusively promotes New Zealand as a destination for conferences, meetings, events, exhibitions and travel incentives.

The meetings industry generates $350 million a year from international visitors, 46,000 of whom attended meetings in New Zealand in the year ending April 2004. Christchurch gets the largest share of these visitors, followed by Auckland and Queenstown.

International attendees spend an average three days at the conference, and a further six days in the country. About 20% are accompanied by a partner. During the conference, the average Australian visitor spends $410 a day, while other visitors spend $455 a day. In their pre- and post-conference touring, Australians have a daily spend of $180 while other visitors spend $340.

The MEETINGS Exhibition has become a powerhouse event in the fledgling industry that was only formally recognized as a sector group 20 years ago with the formation of Conventions & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ). Now with an output of new money to the NZ economy to the tune of $6.7 million a week, the meetings industry creates countless business, professional and tourist development opportunities. For instance, next April the Christchurch Convention Centre will host 2750 delegates at a global IT company conference, the largest conference ever to be held in New Zealand. Since the Christchurch Convention Centre opened in 1997 the sector has blossomed by finally having a city and venue able to seriously compete for lucrative international conventions. It has hosted large and complex meetings, such as the 34th Congress of the International Union of Physiological Sciences with 2500 delegates from 70 countries attending; note change to semi colons between these meetings Commonwealth Health Ministers; Antarctic Treaty meetings and large trade exhibitions.

MEETINGS Exhibition was established in Auckland in 1997, the same year the Christchurch Convention Centre opened, and the show quickly became the industry's flagship event, the leading forum offering buyers and sellers the opportunity to meet face-to-face over two days. These are high-tech meetings, engineered by a sophisticated mix and match of pre-scheduled and scheduled appointments. The format works brilliantly, with last year's event producing a remarkable 98% exhibitor satisfaction rating and 94% of hosted buyers saying they would return.

Cathy Hemsworth, Sales & marketing Director for venue manager NCC (New Zealand) Ltd, chairs the MEETINGS 2004 host city organizing committee. "MEETINGS 2004 will give the industry the vital platform it needs to tell key buyers about new venues, products and services. We will have 150 hosted buyers here and 148 exhibitors - a record attendance," Cathy says.

MEETINGS 2004 includes a welcome function at the Christchurch Art Gallery, Sponsors' Happy Hour, Dine Around, exhibition, appointments, briefing sessions and a celebratory dinner themed Rock Your Soul at the Westpac Centre for Sport and Entertainment.

Conventions & Incentives New Zealand is the marketing name for the New Zealand Convention Association (Inc), a fully incorporated non-profit society, set up to foster and participate in the development of the convention and incentive industries within New Zealand, and to influence the marketing and promotion of New Zealand as a convention and incentive destination.

"It all comes together at MEETINGS and it's hard to imagine a time when the meetings, incentives, exhibitions and conventions industry was almost unheard of in this country. Now the New Zealand conventions and travel incentive industry is competing with and winning against world class venues in large exciting destinations that are a lot closer to Europe and USA where the majority of association headquarters are," Cathy Hemsworth said. "A large part of this success is due to the professional and passionate efforts that go into these annual MEETINGS and in its first year as host, Christchurch will try to raise the bar even further."


For more information please contact Cathy Hemsworth on direct phone or