New Zealand's event and convention industry will gather for its biggest trade show next week, as the sector is forecast to grow by $200 million.
About 22 international buyers will attend Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) trade show in Auckland on Wednesday and Thursday. About 190 exhibitors from around the country will showcase venues, hotels, audio visual, attractions and activities.
CINZ chief executive Sue Sullivan said the sector was a multi-million dollar industry which delivered in the off season as people usually attended conferences from March to November.
The industry was worth $588 million in 2016 and the target for 2020 is $756m, she said.
The regions also benefit
"Our target is high value tourists. They spend more when they're here, they tour the regions. It's a hugely valuable sector to the economy.
"If there's 3000 people coming into Auckland, there'll be 100 of them who will go somewhere else for a subconference. So regional New Zealand benefits from these conferences.''
Among those attending next week is the minister of tourism, Kelvin Davis.
"We need him to be aware of the value of the sector. What it brings to a region, what it brings to a city. We need politicians to understand that business events in a large city is a good thing because there will be spin off for regional New Zealand.
"We need them to understand they are high value tourists.
"So the easier it is for small businesses to do business with internationals is something we need to be talking about more.''
ChristchurchNZ is one of those who will be exhibiting next week. Prior to the Canterbury earthquakes the city had a 24 percent share in events. Since then that has dropped to 2 percent.
Manager Caroline Blanchfield said she has attended every CINZ since the earthquakes and admitted things were "tricky.
"We've got to be seen, and to be visible.''
Christchurch Town Hall, undergoing a complete redevelopment and opening in 2019, and the Christchurch Convention Centre, will give the city more event options.
"It's about building confidence for when the big venues come back," Ms Blanchfield said.