Dunedin events market strong

Bree Jones.
Bree Jones.
The conference and business events market is continuing to provide a strong tourism presence in Dunedin, even as the traditionally quiet winter period hits.

Next month, the city will host three conferences with more than 1700 delegates, requiring thousands of hotel rooms and injecting close to $2 million into the local economy.

Conference venues from Dunedin and across Otago are in Auckland this week touting for more business at Meetings, a trade show where 195 exhibitors from 19 New Zealand regions meet more than 500 New Zealand, Australian and international buyers.

Exhibitors include Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML), the Dunedin Convention Bureau, Millbrook Resort and the Oamaru and Queenstown convention bureaus.

Enterprise Dunedin business tourism events adviser Bree Jones said that to the end of March this year, New Zealand had a decrease in the number of business events.

However, there had been an increase in both the number of delegates attending events and the length of time events ran.

Therefore, the number of delegates attending was 3.6 million, up from 3.4 million the previous year, while the number of days they spent was up from 4.2 million to 4.5 million.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimated international delegates spent an average of $334 per night, while domestic delegates spent $504 per night.

Mrs Jones said Dunedin followed a similar pattern to the rest of the country.

The number of events in Dunedin decreased by 13.2% but the number of delegates attending increased by 10.9% to 120,315.

There was an increase of 7.7% in the days delegates spent in the city, for a total of 133,555 days.

Dunedin had held its market share of 3% of the country's total.

''This is reassuring, as four regions suffered a loss of market share.''

''In what is ordinarily one of the city's quietest months from a tourism perspective, it's great to see the city still busy with these high-yield visitors,'' Mrs Jones said.

''Business events are a key sector to help alleviate seasonality pressures.''

DVML business development manager Kim Dodds said the company had witnessed a steady increase in conference and corporate business events in the past three years, and a considerable growth period was forecast for the next 12 months.

Mrs Dodds said the South was becoming a preferred destination for conference and business events, and Dunedin was taking business away from larger centres such as Auckland and Wellington.

Dunedin Venues worked in partnership with businesses supplying the likes of sound and catering, and clients liked the ''one stop shop'' arrangement.

While the size of events at venues such as the Dunedin Centre and Forsyth Barr Stadium had grown and the company had seen an increase in business events, the number of events was only one aspect.

''It's actually about the number in the conferences.

''We used to think a 200 or 300 conference was a good size for us, but now we're attracting conferences with 800 or 900.''

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