Please, please don't take your conference overseas, pleads industry.
As New Zealand tourism struggles, the conference industry is appealing to the patriotism of Kiwi businesses in the hope they’ll keep their junkets local.
If they don’t the consequences could be severe for the conference and incentive industry, which is worth an estimated $1 billion a year to the New Zealand economy.
Conventions & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) chief executive Alan Trotter is calling for New Zealanders to support ‘Kiwi Made’ and conference within New Zealand instead of heading overseas.
“Travel and conference budgets have tightened due to the current economic climate, but conferences and meetings are still an integral part of business and are still happening, albeit it with tighter purses strings,” he says.
“It’s the perfect opportunity for local corporates to make the most of the diverse range of conference product available within New Zealand.”
This way, he says, they are pumping much-needed money back in the local economy and supporting New Zealand businesses at the same time.
He says CINZ is working hard to continue to attract foreign conference dollars, a task that has been made more difficult by the economic conditions that have affected the whole tourism market in New Zealand.
However, he says New Zealanders will need to conference at home to help the industry through these challenging economic times.
Figures back up his statement – domestic conferences contribute about 80% of the industry’s annual revenue, meaning that even if international conferencing in New Zealand stopped altogether the industry could at least survive if domestic activity stayed stable.
“New Zealand has a sound conference infrastructure right throughout the country and it’s imperative we work hard to support this solid base," Mr Trotter says.
This means “Not only keeping it going but injecting enough money in so infrastructure can continue to be improved for the future.
“Looking ahead the economy will improve and international conferencing will return – and with a vengeance – so New Zealand must be prepared and not left on the back foot.”
The industry will be hoping its appeal to opt for 'Kiwi Made' goes better than the Green Party-backed “Buy Kiwi Made” campaign, which was canned by the National Party soon after it won the election.
An Otago University study found that the $11.5 million "Buy Kiwi Made" campaign, which included TV ads that featured Oliver Driver being packaged into a cardboard box, had made little difference to consumer behaviour.