More associations are looking to host large conferences in New Zealand to escape the "outrageous" cost of doing business in Australia, the Professional Conference Organisers Association (PCO) has claimed.
With the threat of another financial crisis looming yet again, PCO treasurer Peter Sugg says businesses are desperately looking to cut costs to survive the "worst trading conditions in 30 years".
Virtual conferencing has boomed as a result, he said, but with Australian hotel rates creeping ever higher, offshoring is also becoming more attractive.
"The cost of hotels in Australia has never been higher in 25 years… it’s outrageous," he said. "Associations are realizing it’s cheaper to travel a couple of hours over the ditch to put on an event that is of a higher calibre than in Australia."
With Sydney rates typically standing at around $500 per person, Sugg said event organizers could find the same product for just $200 dollars in New Zealand.
And with the strong exchange rate giving more weight to the Australian dollar, he said organizers may be looking at savings of $400 per delegate.
"High hotel rates are damaging Australia’s long term conferencing industry," he said. "If Auckland can offer comparable service, world-class facilities of a higher caliber, and a favourable exchange rate, it makes sense to look there."
With high demand likely to remain in Sydney, Sugg expects offshoring will become increasingly common, particularly if the strong economy persists.
"Australia is now the most expensive conference destination in the world and associations are being forced to look elsewhere," he said. "Sydney just can’t compete with Auckland in terms of cost."