Expanding the Auckland convention centre will boost the national economy, says BusinessNZ.
“The business-to-business benefit of a larger convention centre is significant,” says BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly.
“Travellers coming to larger international conventions in New Zealand will increasingly see New Zealand as a place to do business. We saw that happen during the Rugby World Cup, with the highly successful Business Club venture. A world-class convention centre could help bring a significant boost to inward and outward investment.
“But this is all dependent on size of facilities. Size matters when pitching for big events, and New Zealand is currently missing out on large international conventions.
“Big conferences centres like Singapore, Las Vegas and Dubai thrive because their facilities meet size thresholds. New Orleans’ recovery from Hurricane Katrina was faster because it quickly rebuilt its very large conference facilities. Attracting big events brings new direct spending as well as much other associated economic activity.
“For Auckland, the prospects include increased revenues for hotels, local tourism, catering, entertainment and other associated businesses. Air New Zealand and domestic transport business like rental vehicles, taxis and others would all benefit from an expanded Auckland conventions sector.
“Conference-goers often return later as tourists, bringing long-term economic benefits. For a distant country that has to work harder to attract visitors and tourists, a fit-for-purpose convention centre is needed.
“These are some of the very significant benefits that should not be overlooked in the current debate about the expansion of the SkyCity convention centre.”