Experts have branded official plans for the Christchurch Convention Centre as “great news” for the MICE industry, and remain hopeful a wave of new developments will follow.
Marking the end of months of debate, prime minister John Key this week announced that the new Christchurch Convention Centre will be built along the Avon river in the city centre.
Catering for up to 2000 delegates, it will cover 24,000 square metres, including two hotels and retail space on the ground floor. It will also be configured so that three events can operate simultaneously.
While Christchurch has struggled to secure MICE business since the February 2011 earthquake, Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau manager Caroline Blanchfield expects the new centre will put Christchurch back on the map.
“It will significantly improve our ability to attract trade shows and consumer exhibitions, and gives us the confidence to ramp up our marketing of the city,” she said.
It will also restore certainty to the industry and allow the bureau to pursue large international conferences, she added.
Meanwhile, Conventions and Incentives (CINZ) New Zealand chief executive Alan Trotter said a bevy of new developments were likely to follow as developers regain confidence in the region.
“Hotel companies and developers have refrained from redeveloping their facilities that were destroyed by the earthquake until the location of the convention centre was announced, so this will accelerate the decision to rebuild,” he told The Nibbler.
“This is considered to be the most important piece of infrastructure in the CBD rebuild,” he added.
With early estimates suggesting the centre will inject $85.4 million to the economy annually, Trotter said it was a "great strategic fit" with proposed facilities at Auckland and Queenstown. The Christchurch centre is scheduled to open in 2016/2017.
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