Tourism boost for Dunedin

Dave Cull.
Dave Cull.
Dunedin's tourism industry has received a massive boost, and the city is set to rake in millions of dollars after it was announced yesterday as the host of next year’s Trenz conference.

The tourism industry event will bring up to 1200 international travel and tourism buyers, media and New Zealand tourism operators to Dunedin, something Mayor Dave Cull described yesterday as "a huge coup".

The news comes as figures show New Zealand’s tourism market is expected to continue to grow strongly, with the tourism spend tipped to top $15 billion by 2023.

Dunedin’s hosting of the event was announced on the last day of this year’s Trenz event in Auckland to the applause and cheers of Dunedin City Council staff there for announcement, including chief executive Sue Bidrose and Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) chief executive Chris Roberts said the annual event, which TIA runs, had been going since the 1960s.

Next year’s event, to be held at the Edgar Centre in May, would be the first time it had been hosted outside Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch or Queenstown.

Trenz is an opportunity for New Zealand tourism operators to sell their product to buyers, effectively overseas travel agents who put together itineraries for overseas tourists.

It needs a large space for operators’ stalls, and involves buyers having 15 minutes with operators to hear their spiel before moving on to another, a little like speed-dating.During the event, attendees are bussed to tourism operations to experience them in person.

The event will require 5000 bed nights at Dunedin accommodation.

Mr Roberts said it would be one of the largest events for the city in the past decade.

"At what is traditionally a quiet time for local Dunedin tourism businesses, Trenz will inject several million dollars into the city’s economy," Mr Roberts said.

Mr Cull, who was also at the conference,  said the announcement would have tourism and hospitality operators in the lower South "absolutely fizzing".

"It’s a huge vote of confidence in Dunedin city and the wider region."

While hosting such a big event would bring direct economic benefits, most of all it was "an unequalled opportunity" to showcase tourism operations to global travel, trade and media influencers.

Tourism was Dunedin’s second-largest economic driver after education, contributing close to $700 million a year to the local economy.

Enterprise Dunedin business events tourism adviser Bree Jones said the idea of hosting the event began as "a water-cooler conversation".

The TIA travelled to Dunedin to look at potential venues and "things began to take shape".

Waitaki and Southland were partners in the event, as Dunedin promoted itself offshore along with those regions.

"I don’t think there’s any better way to showcase what Dunedin has to offer from a tourism perspective than having the buyers experience it first hand."

It would also put Dunedin on the tourism map outside the "golden triangle of Auckland, Rotorua and Queenstown".

Mrs Jones said  a marine mammalogy conference was held in the city in 2013 with 1200 visitors, but it was not of the magnitude of Trenz.

Scenic Hotels and Distinction Hotels were already on board to provide accommodation.

At the conference yesterday, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment evidence monitoring and governance general manager Michael Bird said the industry, New Zealand’s largest export earner, should continue to grow for the next six years.

He released updated forecasts showing visitor arrivals to New Zealand were expected to reach 4.9 million by 2023, up 39% from  3.5 million  last year. 

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