A new convention centre in Christchurch with a capacity of around 3000 will form part of a wider national strategy to win more events business for New Zealand, prime minister John Key has said.
Not only will the earthquake hit city see the rise of a new complex but discussions are taking place over larger facilities in Queenstown, which last week hosted TRENZ for the second successive year.
Christchurch lost its 1500 capacity centre in the February 2011 earthquake and Key said it was critical that a replacement can meet the needs of the city.
With the previous space “bursting at the seams” a larger centre “in the order of 3000” capacity was likely, he said.
“That’s why the government took control of that process with the 100 day planning regime we have for Christchurch,” he said.
That process, overseen by the Central City Development Unit, has around 70 days to run after which the location of the new convention centre will be revealed. Once the site is known, more investment in hotels is expected.
Key’s 3000-capacity estimate is around 500 more than tourism officials were expecting. Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter welcomed the prime minister’s comments.
“The idea of having a bigger convention centre is being able to run two events at the same time,” he said.
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