Convention centre will benefit businesses, says hotel association

Press Release – Tourism Industry Association
Hotels and many other Wellington businesses will benefit from the convention centre proposed for the capital, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.

“Business events have been identified in the tourism industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework as a high value segment and growing opportunity for New Zealand’s tourism industry. It is also a segment that brings business and visitors to New Zealand in our shoulder and off peak periods,” TIA says in its submission to Wellington City Council on the convention centre proposal.

Travellers who come to New Zealand for business events are high value, spending an average of $318 per night against an average international visitor’s spending of $208 per night. They spend their money with a range of local businesses, including retailers, hospitality providers, taxi drivers, hairdressers and petrol stations, benefiting many sectors beyond tourism, Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.

Wellington hotel convention and incentive business has remained static over the last six years, Mr Roberts says. A convention centre of the size proposed for Wellington will appeal to the extensive Australia/New Zealand market for conferences of 600-800 delegates. There are a large number of association conferences where the compact nature of Wellington and the ease of getting about the city and its attractions will appeal.

“Without investment in the convention centre, Wellington runs a significant risk of falling off the convention and events radar,” he says.

However, TIA has concerns that the proposed funding for the convention centre would see businesses operating within the downtown levy catchment area contributing twice, through both the downtown levy and general rates. It says the convention centre should be funded from general rates, or limit the downtown levy contribution to the first three years.

• TIA represents the interests of 22 hotels in the Wellington region. This equates to 3000 rooms or over one million room nights per year. In 2013, Wellington hotels operated at around 74% occupancy or approximately 0.8 million room nights sold. Over 70,000 of these room nights were sold to convention and incentive delegates, representing $10 million in accommodation revenue. In addition, Wellington hotels earned another $15 million in on-site residential conference revenue such as room hire and provision of food and beverages.

To read the full submission, go to www.tianz.org.nz/main/local-government

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