Australia/NZ Supplement March/April 2022 - Page 30

Wellington , NZ

Looking to Takina to drive a new chapter in the Wellington story

Irette Ferreira , Business Events Wellington manager in New Zealand , answers some questions about the impact of the pandemic and the challenges ahead
he impact of Covid-19 on the business events sector in 2021 has been , perhaps , even more extraordinary than in 2020 . The continuing uncertainty around what events can and cannot happen has created changing levels of certainty and confidence in the domestic market and , of course , for New Zealand , a complete lack of ability for events with an international delegate base to operate on an inperson basis .
Contrarily , Wellington has , to an extent , enjoyed a year with much activity in the smaller , short lead meeting market , as organisations move quickly and collaboratively when Government puts in place different policies and initiatives to address the pandemic across every facet of life in New Zealand .
Wellington Waterfront . Photo : Nicola Edmonds
What is the outlook for 2022 ?
New Zealand is bracing for the onslaught of the Omicron variant but there is confidence from what is being observed elsewhere in the world as we watch other nations returning to a new form of normality . The desire to run events is still high here , though many organisations are being cautious and consequently planning events for later in the year , in 2023 , and beyond .
What will be the main challenges in 2022 ?
One challenge , as it is across the world , is the loss of personnel from the sector over the last two years due to the drastically reduced volume of activity . Moving forward , having enough of the right people to deliver events will be critical . We expect the related tourism and hospitality sectors will come together to find new ways of addressing these challenges .
The constant rearranging of events has taken a toll on everyone involved and , as a result , we also expect to see more straight-forward relationships between venues and clients .
Lastly , as some form of normality returns , the New Zealand Government has indicated a re-opening of the borders , we look forward to welcoming others to a place we ’ re lucky enough to call home .
How has Wellington continued to adapt due to the pandemic ?
In the short term , Wellington has ensured it is best-placed as the capital city to make the most of opportunities provided by the high level of activity in Government .
In the longer term , the construction of the new Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre , Tãkina , remains a key focus .
Due to open in mid-2023 , the construction project is on schedule , and we are confident this investment will enable more and larger business events to take place , and provide a dedicated , purpose-built facility for Wellingtonians and New Zealanders to tell their story to the world .
The new Tãkina Convention and Exhibition Centre
For our own team , while they haven ' t been able to travel to meet clients internationally , we have made some positive mitigations .
We have invested in a full-time team member based in Sydney , Australia , to support our sales activity in that market , and in other parts of the world we have employed part-time resources to represent Wellington at specific events . It ’ s an approach that has meant , for example , we could be present at IMEX America in Las Vegas in 2021 , maintaining our presence and activity in key markets .