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Christchurch wins major global conferences

Christchurch Convention Centre NEW precinct 1 - EDITED

Christchurch has won the rights to host two major international conferences in 2017 and 2018, bringing 1,200 delegates and over NZD$3 million to the economy.

The Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau (CCCB) partnered with Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) to prepare the winning bids for the 2017 International Conference on Computers in Education and the 2018 Asia-Oceania Conference of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine.

“These are two high-profile conference wins for Christchurch, putting our city back on the world stage as an international conference destination,” said CCCB Manager, Caroline Blanchfield.

“Our strategy, to work in partnership with the Tourism New Zealand Business Events team to attract world-class events in our fields of knowledge and expertise, is really starting to payoff.

“Looking to the future and targeting sectors where our region excels and has enthusiastic conference champions has helped the city succeed in winning these bids,” she said.

The Asia-Oceania Conference of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (AOCPRM) will be held in Christchurch in November 2018. It will bring 800 delegates and an estimated economic contribution of NZD$2.1 million.

Conference convenor Dr Shaun (Xianghu) Xiong, an internationally recognised physician based at Christchurch’s Burwood Hospital Unit, together with Mr Dan Coward, Canterbury DHB General Manager of Burwood Hospital and Older Persons Health, presented the winning bid at the 2014 conference in Bangkok in late December.

Xiong said it is a great honour to be hosting the next conference.

“The Regional Society (Asia-Oceania) of Rehabilitation is important as we belong to the largest population, including more than 20 member countries. AOCPRM 2018 will be an excellent platform for clinicians and researchers to exchange their thoughts and study results,” Dr Xiong said.

“More importantly, we will also encourage people with disabilities and their families to have a say in their medical management and rehabilitation. We’re thrilled to be able to bring such a reputable conference to Christchurch especially after the earthquakes have put a lot of opportunities to host such prestigious international events on hold for so long.”

Dan Coward said innovation is a key focus for the Canterbury Health System particularly when it comes to physical and rehabilitation medicine.

“The benefits are huge for both Christchurch and New Zealand. A lot is happening in this area and we have clinical leaders who are paving the way in this field. The opportunities in Canterbury are huge. With the rebuilt Health Precinct coming along I’m sure the world will be watching this space,” he said.

Dr Raj Singhal, Clinical Director, Burwood Spinal Unit, agrees.

“The winning bid of The Asia-Oceania Conference of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (AOCPRM) to be held in Christchurch in November 2018 provides us with a golden opportunity to showcase Rehabilitation Medicine in New Zealand. This will also sets the stage for mutual exchange of ideas with Asia-Oceania countries, giving us research opportunities and collaborations for the benefit of Rehabilitation Medicine in New Zealand and abroad,” he said.

The 2017 International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE) will see Christchurch hosting more than 400 IT and education experts from all over the world for five days of plenary meetings in November 2017, worth an estimated $900,000 for the local economy.

“With a reputation for being a world-class hub for IT innovation, Christchurch is ideally placed to host a conference that focuses on Computers in Education,” Blanchfield said.

“We are recognised for leading technology in our schools, world-class universities, Institute of Technology, Crown Research Institutes, organisations and private companies.”

University of Canterbury Computer Science and Software Engineering Professor Tanja Mitrovic worked with CCCB and TNZ to put together the bid for the conference. Professor Mitrovic presented it at the 2014 ICCE conference in Japan last month.

Tourism New Zealand International Business Events Manager, Bjoern Spreitzer, says international events such as this provide a huge opportunity to grow the value of visitors to New Zealand.

“This is what our work in this sector is all about, attracting people to New Zealand for business purposes who previously might not have visited. They bring new knowledge to New Zealand and we are encouraging them to explore further and make a holiday of it,” he said.

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