Wellington will miss out on millions of dollars of convention and events business if the Shed 6 wharf isn’t earthquake strengthened so that the TSB Bank Arena and Shed 6 rebuild can proceed, says the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA).
TIA is calling on Wellington City Council to complete the earthquake strengthening work before the Town Hall closure next year so the capital can continue to host lucrative events such as WOW and large-scale national and international conferences.
“Conferences and other meetings attract thousands of visitors to Wellington and pump $110 million into the Wellington economy annually. In today’s tough and highly competitive trading environment they are an invaluable and irreplaceable source of business for Wellington hotels and other businesses such as retailers, bars and cafes,” says Olivier Lacoua, TIA – Hotels Wellington Regional Chair and General Manager, CQ Comfort & Quality Hotels Wellington.
He says Wellington can’t afford to be without a venue capable of hosting major conferences and events for two years while the Town Hall is closed for earthquake strengthening.
“Without a major venue such as the proposed refit of Shed 6 and the adjoining TSB Bank Arena, Wellington would not only lose business for the two years during the Town Hall closure, but for at least another three to five years because of the long lead nature involved in securing large conferences.”
The city’s hotels and smaller scale venues can’t match what a major conference centre offers when it comes to large conferences with associated trade displays, says Mr Lacoua.
“Conferences and events is a highly competitive business with many Australian cities also chasing this business. If we don’t have a large-scale venue, international and New Zealand conference organisers will simply go elsewhere. Wellington will not only lose out on millions of dollars of spending but also the reputation we have worked so hard to build to attract meetings and conferences to the city.”