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October 2, 2013

New Zealand Ups Asian Pursuit

Having previously targeted its attention on the leisure sector, Tourism New Zealand is rolling out dedicated efforts to woo more MICE business from South-east Asia.   
Backing Tourism New Zealand’s MICE ambition are vast resources. A new three-year marketing plan was unveiled in June, with a worldwide budget of NZ$34 million (US$28.2 million) earmarked for the next four years, representing close to an 80 per cent increase in funds from a low base, according to Mischa Mannix-Opie, regional manager South & South East Asia of Tourism New Zealand, which is participating in IT&CMA for the first time this year.
In the pipeline are stronger marketing efforts for Indonesia and India, which have been identified as emerging markets for the destination.
“India will see a quadrupling of budget and increase of human resources (from two to four staff) while Indonesia – which used to be managed out of Singapore – will see a new office with three staff opening in Jakarta later this month,” commented Mannix-Opie.
“We will look at conventions and incentives from Singapore, and incentives from Malaysia, Thailand and India, where we had been more reactive than proactively going out with a plan to attract business partners and develop a quality base of leads,” she added.  
At the same time, the NTO is keen to attract more business events from Asia-Pacific to New Zealand; the coming months will see the addition of a new role in Singapore and two roles in China to cultivate New Zealand’s visibility in the regional corporate world, with ongoing support from the regional offices.  
Earlier this month, Tourism New Zealand launched a business events-specific campaign, 100% Pure New Zealand – Beyond Convention, alongside a newly revamped website (www.businessevents.newzealand.com) to showcase the country’s strengths as an incentive as well as conference destination.
Having assumed responsibility of the Conference Assistance Programme (CAP) in July 2011, which renders support to both local and international organisations bidding to host conventions in New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand has garnered 10 bid wins worth a combined estimated value of NZ$16 million to date.

These events include IMBER Open Science Conference in 2014, 6th Asia Pacific Occupational Therapy Congress in 2015 and FIG Working Week in 2016.
Meanwhile, New Zealand is seeing an expansion of infrastructure, with a NZ$402 million convention centre due to debut in Auckland in 2017, while the Shed 6 waterfront area in Wellington was recently launched as a flexible conference and meeting venue.  
However, Mannix-Opie admitted that flight capacity and rising CVB competition are challenges that New Zealand faces in its pursuit of Asian MICE visitors.
“New Zealand is not a hub destination like Bangkok or Singapore – we are a fly-to rather than a fly-through destination – so we need to make sure we have enough air capacity flying to the country…More destinations, whether shorthaul or longhaul, are all actively seeking visitors from South-east Asia, so we have to up our game.”
Nonetheless, with a significant boost in resources and efforts dedicated to growing the South-east Asian MICE market, Mannix-Opie is confident of New Zealand’s MICE positioning.
“This year will be a benchmark,” she added.   
Besides IT&CMA in Bangkok and IT&CM China in Shanghai, Tourism New Zealand will also attend other key tradeshows such as CIBTM in Beijing, IMEX in Las Vegas and Frankfurt, and AIME in Melbourne.
Tourism New Zealand is also diving into South America with an inaugural office rolling out in Sao Paulo soon.


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