Conference Industry Puts Wellington ‘In the Spotlight’
December 6, 2012
A group of conference industry professionals with the potential to bring millions of dollars worth of new business to the capital of cool have been experiencing the city’s services and venues firsthand this week.
Positively Wellington Tourism’s Convention Bureau has hosted 17 professional conference organisers (PCOs) on a three-day ‘Wellington In the Spotlight’ familiarisation of the city’s hotels, venues, sights and activities.
PWT Chief Executive David Perks says the establishment of a new Sydney-based Business Development Manager position six months ago had resulted in a 15-strong trans-Tasman contingent in the group.
“The Australian visitor market is thriving for Wellington’s $2200 a minute tourism industry, with a 16% increase in direct arrivals into Wellington Airport in 2011 – five times the national growth. Now that we’ve built a significant profile platform, we’re in a position to target the conventions sector across the Tasman much more aggressively,” Mr Perks says.
The conference and incentive market is estimated to be worth close to $100 million per year to the capital, but trans-Tasman business currently makes up a relatively small part of the sector.
“Over the past six months we’ve really started to see the benefit of having a dedicated presence in Australia. The conventions sector is one where you need to form face-to-face relationships, bring them to the source and aggressively bid for business.”
Following a December visit, the Australasian College of Intensive Care Medicine recently confirmed their three-day Annual Scientific Meeting, involving over 300 people, will be held in Wellington in May 2013.
“The Wellington Convention Bureau hosted seven Australian PCOs here in December and the comments we received were incredibly positive,” Mr Perks says. “They were pleased – and to be honest a little surprised – to find Wellington had ‘so much to offer’ the conventions sector and promised they’ll be back.”
The Wellington Convention Bureau – a business unit within PWT – has set itself a lofty target of increasing the value of the Australian conventions and incentives market by 60% to $7 million in the space of three years.
The Wellington In the Spotlight group enjoy Wellington in the sunlight at the Mount Victoria Lookout. CREDIT: Mark Fa’amaoni.