Over the past couple of months TNZ has held sessions at two of New Zealand's major universities - Victoria University and the University of Waikato - promoting the Conference Assistance Programme and un-tapped potential opportunities to bring international conferences to the country.
International Business Events Manger Bjoern Spreitzer says, "Working to promote areas where New Zealand has particular leadership and expertise to the rest of the world provides a great incentive to bring conferences to New Zealand and is a core element of TNZ's business events strategy.
"New Zealand's world class universities provide a wealth of knowledge and expertise that provides a vital hook to attract international conferences to the country."
In April the team held a session at Wellington's Victoria University, in conjunction with Business Events Wellington and Positively Wellington Venues. The event was so successful a second session was held at the university in June.
Then in June TNZ held a networking session University of Waikato in partnership with Hamilton and Waikato Tourism.
The sessions consisted of a presentation from the TNZ team followed by networking, which were attended by around 30 key lecturers, academics, school managers and administration staff.
Bjoern says, "The sessions were a great opportunity to meet leaders in their field who could potentially bid for an international conference and we're already seeing great leads following the sessions.
"Our experience shows that academics, research teams and university staff will generally elect to host a conference in the city they reside in. So there is great value in assisting these individuals to try and bring those events to New Zealand."
A great example of this is a recent conference win for Dunedin. In June it was announced that the Public Communication of Science and Technology Conference will be hosted by the University of Otago's Centre for Science and Communication - the world's largest postgraduate facility for Science Communication.
"This bid was championed by the University of Otago's Stuart Professor of Science Communication, Lloyd Spencer Davis, with the support of TNZ, Tourism Dunedin and the Conference Assistance Programme.
"Through our ongoing work with local universities we hope to find more of these conference champions that will provide us with the edge to compete for a bigger share of the international conference market," says Bjoern.
Read more about Tourism New Zealand's work to target the business events sector.