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Delegates up, conventions down for 2016

20 Feb 2017  By Bridget O'Connell

More delegates spent a longer time at fewer conferences in New Zealand last year, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
The Ministry’s Convention Activity Survey (CAS) found there was a 2.9% rise in delegate numbers to 3.5m and a 2.3% rise in delegate days in the 12 months to December 2016.
However, the number of events eased 1.3% from 44,800 in 2015 to 44,200 last year.
The big movers in terms of the number of events were incentive activities which fell 23% to 871. This was followed by an 8% drop in the annual number of conferences and conventions to 5,100.
Incentive activities account for just 2% of the total number of events, while conferences and conventions have a 12% market share.
The remaining three sectors captured by the data all rose or showed a marginal change.
The biggest riser was special occasions, which climbed 10%, and accounted for 20% of all of 2015’s events.
Meetings and seminars, which comprise the bulk of events at 64% reflecting 39% of all delegate days, rose by around 2% while trade shows/exhibitions were down 1% year-on-year
Trends in larger events, that is more than 100 delegates, also showed a sharp fall in incentive activities down 25%, followed by tradeshows with a 16% drop-off.
The number of large conference and convention events was up 7%, the number of large meetings and seminars up 3%, and the number of special occasion events was also up 3%.
A big change in terms of attendees was seen in the conference and conventions space where delegates rose 16.2% from 551,000 to 585,000.
As the number of events fell by 400 to 5,100 conferences and conventions reflect the general trend for more delegates to attend fewer events. Although in this category delegate days eased from 1.1m to 1m year-on-year.
Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch continue to host the lion’s share of business events at 37%, 21% and 8% respectively.
Last year saw Wellington climb 3% at the expense of Christchurch & Canterbury, Nelson and Manawatu which all lost 1%.
Rotorua also climbed 1% to 5% of an estimated 44,200 business events which occurred across 13 regions in the year ended December 2016.

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