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Auckland builds global events reputation

Proponents of Sky City's yet-to-be-approved $350 million convention centre argue the centre is needed to attract big international events, but the city seems to be doing fine with what it has got.

Recently named runner-up for the 'Sports City' prize at an international sports event management awards – won by London – Auckland is proving to be among the world's best at attracting global events.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), a council-controlled organisation created along with the Super City, has been driving the big-event strategy.

Aside from the Rugby World Cup, it has managed to secure the ITU World Triathlon Championships as an annual event in Auckland and it took the V8 Supercars from Hamilton.

Auckland will also host the IRB Junior World Championship in 2014 – the world's biggest rugby tournament after the World Cup.

ATEED's major events general manager Jennah Wootten says that event will inject $7.3 million into the region's economy.

"Hosting important international sporting events is a key economic driver, and this is another important win alongside the 2017 World Masters Games," she says.

Having big events held in Auckland is not new, of course – it hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1990, and the America's Cup in 2000 and 2003.

But Auckland's solid infrastructure, and ATEED's aggressive marketing, is seeing large events come to the city more regularly.

And it is holding its own against much larger cities – for the sports city runner-up award it beat Copenhagen, Melbourne, Manchester, Glasgow and Dusseldorf in western Germany.

Conferences, too

Major sports events get a lot of profile, but international conferences also provide a significant economic benefit.

Three large conventions have been announced in recent weeks, the biggest being the International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences in 2016.

The conference is expected to attract at least 1000 delegates and will inject about $4 million into the local economy.

In comparison, the IRB Junior World Championships is expected to generate $7.3 million.

Other conferences include the global powerboat conference Union Internationale Motonautique next year with 200 delegates and the 300-delegate 2014 Intelligent Transport Systems Asia-Pacific Forum in 2014.

Conventions and Incentives NZ ceo Alan Trotter says the industry is experiencing a mini-boom.

"This business is a bit like fishing. You put the burley in and you don't get anything, and all of a sudden a shoal of snapper come through.

"A lot of this business has been worked on for a number of years but it wasn't announced until recently. "

New Zealand cannot realistically host a conference of more than 1000 delegates, which is why Mr Trotter and others in the conference sector push the need for Sky City's proposed centre which could hold 3500 people.

However, the fact Auckland can still attract 1000-delegate conferences proves the city is an attractive destination, Mr Trotter says.

callison@nbr.co.nz

More by Caleb Allison

Comments and questions

Yes, ditch the white elephant white water rafting park at a council-costed price tag of nearly $60m (read $120m by opening time) and funnel those funds into something worthwhile and productive that will create far more jobs and revenue for NZ Inc than this facility in south Auckland where - if we believe TV3 - parents there can't even afford a few spare dollars to feed their dependants' breakfast and lunch each and every day...

How could a white water rafting theme park survive unless there were taxpayer-funded subsidies?

"Auckland's solid infrastructure..." Try driving home at 5pm.

Wee slip to forget mention all the $$$$ from lots of new debt to buy all this - eg, V8s.
Can we just have cheap water (heading for such huge increases and bills now monthly) and rubbish collection.

Sky City originally said they would not be a centre for vice in the city.
Now a 15-storey brothel wants to open across the road.

A triathlon, the V8s and World Master Games. Wow. Can't wait. Well done ATEED...

Ha ha.Yeah, well done, ATEED. Those are major events of global significance which will have a major impact on our city.
Stop dreaming. The only significant event we've held would be the RWC.
Look, the convention centre has got to be built to an appropriate standard if anything worthwhile in this city is to be hosted.
A lot, and I mean a lot, of hard work needs to be done in order to attract the right global events if at all possible.

V8s - what is interesting about watching cars go round in circles? Right up with there with watching fish rot.

Having lived up there, I can say with hand on heart that Auckland is a fine place ... for nuke testing - LOL! Congrats Auckland!

Having lived down there (outside of Auckland)I can see that it's already been nuked.

You silly anti-Auckland people need to look at your comments and realise how offensive they really are. So you think killing 1.5 million people in a nuclear maelstrom is a good idea?? What sad unhappy lives you must lead.

This is great to see, and perhaps we can put the comments above down to the diversity of interests ATEED has to contend with. All deserve a pat on the back for a robust strategy well executed.

In their recent judgment on the super brothel the independent commissioners acknowledged the brothel activity could eventually extend throughout the building but weren't willing to do anything about it.
They refused to restrain this eventuality.
If anything, it appears Auckland City have effectively given the brothel developers a sweet ride.
One can only conclude that under John Key and Len Brown, Aucklanders are now the sluts of the Pacific.

Prostitution is the oldest profession known to mankind. Get off your sanctimonious high horse and don't fret about an issue you can avoid by staying away from the place. Solved it for you.

Remember, Comrades Cullen and Clark made prostitution legal as denying it and people who work in the industry a fair shot. Regardless if you use those services or not, they are an essential part of society... especially for the disabled / handicapped...

Just sayin'

Let's also talk about Auckland's wider impact on the rest of NZ. Politically, it has the highest density of voters so attracts quite a bit of funding. When visiting Auckland one is surprised by how new and fresh everything is compared to the rather threadbare state of most other cities.

London has hoovered a colossal amount of economic life out of the rest of the UK and the same thing is under way here. Then there's our so-called national broadcaster which really is TV Auckland rather than TVNZ... Sigh.

Auckland has no global significance, and certainly less than the 300+ cities around the world that are bigger and more influential than it - the large majority of which no one can name. Anyone that has travelled realises this.

Of course, with New Zealand's media based solely Auckland, one gets the impression it is the centre of the universe. Most tourists, however, quickly move on to New Zealand's real attractions, its natural sites. New Zealand's largest town has little of interest, and little beyond any other town in New Zealand in the eyes of the worldly.

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