Auckland pursues new strategies

Steve Armitage addressing the crowd at AIME 2018. Photo credit: Adelaine Ng

Auckland’s economic growth agency will adopt a new strategic direction in pursuing business events as the city goes through significant restructure, with a keen focus on the Asian market.

More than NZ$23 billion (US$17 million) is being invested in infrastructure, hotel developments and a new convention centre in preparation for 2021, when Auckland hosts the America’s Cup and and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) including APEC Economic Leaders Week.

Steve Armitage addressing the crowd at AIME 2018. Photo credit: Adelaine Ng

The new strategy will see Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) make a “dramatic shift” from its previous five-year visitor marketing plan towards a destination management strategy.

Defining the difference, ATEED’s general manager destination, Steve Armitage, said: “Destination marketing is the process of attracting visitors to our place, whereas destination management is the process of ensuring that when our visitors arrive, they feel welcome and have a great experience.”

In addition to the NZ$402 million New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) which will open next year, Auckland’s central city will be upgraded with new laneways, public squares and parks, a redeveloped cultural quarter with a boutique hotel, and a new central rail loop or an underground train line running through. Mass transit options from the airport are also being planned along with the addition of more than 2,500 new hotel rooms near the airport over the next five years.

“2021 is an incredible opportunity to showcase Auckland as a host city for all manner of events and that obviously includes large-scale business events,” said Armitage.

“Asia is one of our priority markets and a region where we see further growth potential, particularly with the NZICC coming on stream. With the development of a soon-to-launch Destination AKL Strategy and a series of supporting action plans – including a bespoke business events plan – we will be pouring more energy and resources into this valuable sector and our key markets,” he elaborated.

Armitage added that Auckland is in a strong position to attract new business with good connectivity to Asian markets, being just one flight away from most major cities in the region.

At press time, NZICC has nine confirmed bookings worth NZ$36 million in economic impact, including the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology with 4,000 delegates and the World Veterinary Congress bringing 3,000 pax.

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