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Renewed call for NZ convention centre

The new national convention centre would be developed in Auckland
The new national convention centre would be developed in Auckland

The New Zealand tourism industry has renewed its call for the development of a national convention centre as a means of boosting the country’s economy.

The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA), which has been vocal in its support for such a facility, reiterated its stance this week following the release of the report into the expressions of interest for the development of a nation convention centre. Following the report, negotiations are expected to resume between the New Zealand government and Skycity, the Auckland hotel and casino operator.

“We look forward to participating in the process to develop a national convention centre,” TIA Chief Executive Martin Snedden said. “The latest visitor expenditure figures released today (19 February 2013), showing a 6% decrease in spending by international visitors since 2011, only reinforce the need for a national convention centre.”

It is estimated a national convention centre will boost New Zealand’s economy to the tune of NZ$90 million (US$76m) per year, while creating approximately 800 positions once it is operational.

Snedden said that the lack of a national convention centre currently prevents New Zealand from hosting large international conferences, meaning the country loses valuable revenue to Australia.

“We have been losing conventions to other destinations, particularly Australia, because we don’t have an international-scale convention centre. Development of such a facility will enable the industry to target a whole new market that can’t be accommodated by existing conference facilities,” Snedden said. “While we acknowledge that there are genuine concerns about issues related to gambling, we are confident that the legislative process will provide an opportunity for a thorough examination of the issues.”

Attracting conference delegates is attractive as they tend to be high-spending visitors, with an average spend of NZ$365 a night, compared to an NZ$200 per night for international leisure visitors.

If approved, the new national convention centre would be developed in Auckland.

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