Boost for Trans-Tasman business events

New Zealand-based associations and their Australian counterparts are planning more joint conferences following a Tourism New Zealand-led workshop.

In early September a select group of Australian and New Zealand association executives met in Queenstown for the Trans-Tasman Collaborative Conference Workshop.

Workshop participants were provided with insights into organising and managing international conferences from keynote speakers Paula Rowntree, the Association Event Strategist’s Director, and Stephen Noble, The Conference Company’s Manager Asia-Pacific.

Workshop delegates explore Glenorchy

The workshop, held in conjunction with the Australian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE), provided the opportunity for participants to address the fundamentals, challenges, and opportunities of joint conferencing. For many of the participants it was an invaluable opportunity to meet their Trans-Tasman counterparts face-to-face.

“The keywords were focus, support, and networking.  Demi Brown [Australian Home Heating Association’s General Manager] and I would have unlikely had such an opportunity to discuss a [potential] Trans-Tasman Home Heating Conference. The professional consultation provided by Tourism New Zealand guided us through the initial challenges and allowed us to construct a framework upon which we can plan and build towards our new-found goal. The momentum gained during the workshop has continued and, following the recent NZHHA conference in Blenheim, I am confident that a Trans-Tasman Conference is likely to happen. The support we have received has given us the kick-start we needed to have what seemed to be just a pipe-dream. Thanks to Tourism New Zealand, it looks like becoming reality,” says Mike Chilton, New Zealand Home Heating Association’s President.

Helen Sullivan New Zealand Audiological Society’s Executive Director says the workshops and events hosted by Tourism New Zealand and AuSAE provided “a framework for our conversations and information to enable us to explore the options available to us.”

Her counterpart, Dr Tony Coles, Audiology Australia’s Chief Executive Officer concurs.

“I attended the workshop in Queenstown with an open mind to the possibilities and potential for hosting a conference in New Zealand, but with no firm commitment. However, following days of collaboration and enterprising discussions with colleagues and suppliers, I feel confident that not only is a Trans-Tasman conference workable, but that there is scope for working collaboratively with the New Zealand Audiological Society to run other events in the near future,” he says.

Business events are a significant market for New Zealand, with more than 74,000 international visitors travelling here for business events in the year to June 2018 (Statistics New Zealand International Visitor Arrivals). Of these, 42,192 (57%) were Australian.

“The business events market is hugely competitive globally, but New Zealand has established itself as a strong contender in the knowledge travel economy and as an attractive business events host. Business events also support our strategy to grow shoulder visitation with many of these events being held in spring or autumn. In FY18 Tourism New Zealand supported 86 bids to host international conferences in New Zealand and secured $124.9m worth of business,” says Tourism New Zealand’s Global Manager Business Events Anna Fennessy.