New Zealand’s MICE industry reacts to two-way trans-Tasman travel bubble announcement

Major players in New Zealand’s business events industry have welcomed the announcement of a start date for quarantine-free travel from Australia to the Land of the Long White Cloud.

With Australia’s border with New Zealand having been mostly open since October, the trans-Tasman bubble will become two-way on Monday 19 April. You can read all about what it will look like here.

Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) chief executive Lisa Hopkins said reopening the borders with Australia was essential to ensuring the sector’s economic future.

“Australian clients are telling us they want to meet and do business person-to-person in New Zealand, and we can’t wait to welcome them back,” she said.

“This is a much-deserved relief for our business events industry members who have really battled for the last year.

“Business events are planned and booked well in advance, and today’s news will give Australian organisers the confidence needed to plan and book their events in New Zealand, not just for this year, but further ahead.

“Business events attendees spend more than any other visitor. They are here for business, education or trade, and will pay appropriately for the experience, bringing far-reaching value in terms of jobs, growth and opportunity.

“These visitors bring revenue to cities and regions during weekdays, off-peak and shoulder seasons because they operate in a counter-cyclical nature to leisure tourism. This will be so important for winter 2021 and beyond.”

BEIA has identified $38 million in direct spend from Australian-based conference organisers looking to host an event in New Zealand between mid-2021 and the end of 2022.

The organisation is hosting New Zealand’s largest business events showcase, MEETINGS, in early June. Australian buyers have already registered to attend the event on 2 and 3 June in Auckland in anticipation of today’s announcement.

They will also be given the opportunity to join eight planned familiarisations around the country, offering a first-hand experience of New Zealand’s regional capabilities to host future conferences, incentives and meetings.

Ross Steele, general manager of Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, said the past 12 months have been challenging for the centre’s clients and the business events industry as a whole.

“Despite border closures and uncertainty, working closely with our Australian clients and peers has remained a key focus for us,” he said.

“Over the past several months, we have reinforced our commitment to the Australian market, appointing an in-market business development manager, Heidi Heming, to represent Te Pae Christchurch, and continuing to support industry activity wherever possible.

“We, like many in our industry, have looked forward to this announcement, and we believe it will provide our Australian clients with the confidence they need to plan ahead.

“With a number of Australasian conferences already booked and trans-Tasman travel now back on the table, we look forward to reconnecting with clients and friends when welcoming them to Ōtautahi Christchurch and Te Pae Christchurch once we open later this year.”