Conference and Exhibition Centre set to attract 111 events annually
The 18,000sqm CEC will feature 10,000sqm of dedicated convention space spread across its top two floors and a 1650 sqm ground-floor exhibition gallery to accommodate touring exhibitions.
WREDA’s Regional Development Destination and Attraction general manager David Perks says the council’s decision will strengthen Wellington’s position as a leading conference destination in Australasia.
“Wellington has always been competitive with the conference venues available in the city but the WCEC will take things to a new level,” he said. “It will enable the city to not only retain its current share of conferences but also put in bids for larger international conferences that would simply have been too big for existing venues.
“It will put us on an equal footing with Auckland and Christchurch who both have conference venues under construction, and the Australian market where all major cities have purpose-built convention facilities.
“It will also allow Wellington’s core performance venues such as the Opera House and Michael Fowler Centre to focus entirely on performance events. This will help increase the number and variety of live concerts and shows being staged in Wellington.”
Perks says the business events market is currently worth around $240 million to the city and is among the most lucrative within Wellington’s tourism portfolio.
The new convention centre would host 111 new events annually, delivering nearly 149,000 new delegate days to Wellington, according to forecasts. This represents 16 per cent growth from the current position.
“Add in the fact that the exhibition space is expected to attract over 272,000 annual visitors, generating an additional $3.8 million in direct visitor spend in Wellington, and it’s easy to see the value the WCEC will bring to Wellington,” said Perks.
Tourism New Zealand’s global business events manager, Anna Fennessy, says the development of a large-scale conference venue is a huge win for Wellington.
“The introduction of a large-scale conference venue for Wellington means these benefits will be absorbed across the region for years to come,” she said.