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NZ centre plans welcomed

Development of a national convention centre will create substantial economic benefits, both for the tourism industry and the wider New Zealand economy, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.

TIA is welcoming the expected resumption of negotiations between the government and Skycity to develop a national convention centre, following yesterday’s (Feb 19) release of the report by the Office of the Auditor-General into the expressions of interest process.

“We look forward to participating in the process to develop a national convention centre,” said TIA Chief Executive Martin Snedden.

“The latest visitor expenditure figures released today, showing a 6% decrease in spending by international visitors since 2011, only reinforce the need for a national convention centre.”

Conference delegates are high-spending visitors, spending an average of NZD$365 a night, compared to an international leisure visitor who spends around NZD$200 a night.

It is estimated a national convention centre will boost New Zealand’s economy by more than NZD$90 million a year. It is expected to create 1000 jobs during construction and another 800 positions when it is operational.

It will also support many more jobs across the economy, including in the accommodation, catering, transport and retail sectors.

“Development of a world-class convention centre will not only create a major new market for our tourism industry, it will contribute significantly to New Zealand’s economic recovery,” Snedden said.

The lack of a world-class convention centre prevents New Zealand from hosting large international conferences.

“We have been losing conventions to other destinations, particularly Australia, because we don’t have an international-scale convention centre. Development of such a facility will enable the industry to target a whole new market that can’t be accommodated by existing conference facilities,” Snedden said.

“While we acknowledge that there are genuine concerns about issues related to gambling, we are confident that the legislative process will provide an opportunity for a thorough examination of the issues.”

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