How long do you think it will take to get back to 2019 event numbers ?
Since reopening from our original lockdown in mid-2020 we have seen business and travel activity domestically return remarkably quickly .
What we haven ’ t yet seen in New Zealand is the impact on international travel here , or the confidence of larger events to book long-term .
The opening of Tãkina will give a significant boost and we anticipate that this may come at the time when confidence has been rebuilt from a prolonged period of settled conditions and a year of fully open international borders .
How are you positioning to win back business ?
Wellington has continued to secure business events for the future throughout the pandemic , so the focus is on further pursuing and accelerating strategies that have worked .
Recognising the volatility of the world we live in , one strategy is to build events in Wellington that will be proud to be anchored here . We look to work with various sectors with a significant presence , in particular the Fin-tech , Gov-tech and Creative-tech niches .
By forming mutually beneficial partnerships with event owners in such disciplines we seek to establish platforms from which businesses and entrepreneurs can accelerate their work and boost jobs and positive community impacts .
Wellington has long invested in events as a way to boost the economy and make the city a more exciting place to live and learn . The investment in Tãkina is a direct response to a desire to secure more events business and give Wellingtonians more opportunities to participate in conferences and other business events .
A strategy we continue to work on is using the easy access to New Zealand Government right here in the capital as a way to add value to conferences that choose to host their event here and for Government to share its internationally-recognised wellbeing agenda .
What about the events pipeline ?
Over the last year we have secured good business for the future .
We are working with local leaders after securing one of the largest international conferences dedicated to the study of sedimentary rocks and the processes by which they are formed – the 22nd International Sedimentological Congress in 2026 .
We are also partnering with organisations like the New Zealand Game Developers Association to build an event that will increase investment and growth in the screen and game development sectors .
And later in the year , we ’ ve got conferences like the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works at Te Papa Tongarewa still planning to go ahead by offering their event both in-person and online .
From an infrastructure perspective the key development is the new Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre . Tãkina will stand adjacent to our modern interactive museum Te Papa Tongarewa – the National Museum of New Zealand , which is the most visited museum in the Southern Hemisphere . Te Papa is also a premium conference venue .
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Te Marae . Photo : Johnny Hendrikus
Wellington has also recently published a Destination Management Plan that looks to ensure the visitor sector continues to positively impact the city from an economic and a social , cultural and environmental perspective . As an urban destination , the importance of business events is recognised in the plan - the pursuit of its goals will necessitate our team working with conference organisers to establish event goals that reflect sustainable and regenerative outcomes for our city and people .