Around 60 Australian hosted buyers are joining regional familiarisation tours the weekend prior to New Zealand’s biggest business tourism trade exhibition.
Another 12 Australian buyers are extending their stay in New Zealand for further site visits after MEETINGS, being held on 10 and 11 June at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds.
“Last year’s pre-MEETINGS familiarisation programme was such a huge success we have expanded to seven regions in 2015,” says Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) chief executive Sue Sullivan.
Organised by the CINZ Australia team, the tours are part of the official MEETINGS programme and are designed to match buyers’ specific needs with regions of their choice.
“Our Australian team works closely with the regional convention bureaux and selected hosted buyers to manage itineraries, trans-Tasman flights, transfers, accommodation, appointments and site inspection requests to make it all as seamless as possible,” she says.
This year Australian visitors will be heading to Hamilton and Waikato, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Wellington, Christchurch and Canterbury, Dunedin and Queenstown. They also have two tour options in MEETINGS’ host city on 9 June, and a special dinner at Auckland War Memorial Museum on Wednesday 10 June, both organised by Auckland Convention Bureau.
For several regional convention bureaux, the MEETINGS familiarisations are their only opportunity in the year to host Australian convention and incentive organisers.
Dunedin is excited to be hosting its first CINZ-organised familiarisation next month.
“The value of CINZ and Air New Zealand’s support is enormous and enables us to show off what this beautiful city has to offer,” Dunedin Bureau manager Kerry Buchan says.
“In particular, we want our guests to see the cohesive way business events people work together here. Dunedin itself is one enormous conference venue and we punch above our weight for extra-curricular activities. We have it all and we want our Australian visitors to see and experience this European-flavoured city, all on their doorstep.”
Hamilton and Waikato Convention Bureau manager, Lynn Briggs says the work CINZ does qualifying buyers to the region is extremely valuable.
“It means we’ll be hosting buyers who are legitimately interested in our region and who have genuine business to bring here,” she says.
“As a relatively new player in the business events space, one of our main challenges is awareness of our region. We find that once people visit us and experience what we have to offer, they’re hooked.”
Australian clients are looking for something a little different for their incentive and reward travel, says Karen Rainbow, Business Events Manager for Great Lake Taupo.
“They are seeking out new destinations that offer something outside the norm, with a range of options, from the relaxing to the adventurous.
“Our Great Lake Taupo tour has been tailored to showcase the vast assortment of incentive and bespoke meeting facilities and activities in the region,” she says.
Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau is hosting eight Australians for a weekend exploring the city and beyond to the alpine spa resort of Hanmer Springs.
“We are delighted MEETINGS’ Australian buyers are so eager to learn more about our South Island hot spot, and to see the exciting developments here first-hand,” says Bureau manager Caroline Blanchfield.
“We have so much to share, and this is a brilliant opportunity,” she says.
For more information about visiting MEETINGS 2015 as a day buyer, go to: www.meetings.co.nz/daybuyer.