Auckland is gearing up to maximise the lasting opportunities of the global spotlight being on the region when it hosts some of its largest business events and major events in 2020 and 2021.

A number of large-scale conferences have already been secured to be held in the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) when it opens – including two back-to-back ophthalmology conferences in 2020, one of which will be the largest medical meeting to ever be held in New Zealand.

The following year all eyes will be on Auckland, and New Zealand, with a potential America’s Cup defence and a number of events associated with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) including the penultimate Leaders’ Week in November 2021 being held in the city.

Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) General Manager – Destination, Steve Armitage, speaking at AIME today, says Auckland is no stranger to hosting world-class major events, and maximising the opportunities they present to create a lasting legacy.

“We know how hosting major events can be catalysts for change and how to leverage the power of them to transform a city. This does not just extend to the public and social amenities of a city but we’ve also seen the same impact for the business events sector,” he says.

“A significant transformation of Auckland is already underway and a lot of development is in the pipeline including the infrastructure which will be needed to support the growth of the business events sector and the America’s Cup regatta.”

Between now and 2023 more than $23 billion of new strategic investment across the region is planned, funded and underway.

This includes the world class NZICC on track for completion in 2019, a number of new hotel developments such as the new SkyCity Hotel, Sofitel SO, Four Points by Sheraton, Park Hyatt, and the recently announced expansion of Cordis, which once completed will have the largest number of rooms in New Zealand.

NZICC General Manager Operations, Callum Mallett says: “We are seeing a growing appetite globally for bringing events to New Zealand.

“Auckland’s increasing infrastructure, more frequent flight paths, and now the 4,000 pax capacity of NZICC means that the perceived barriers for the larger scale business events coming to New Zealand are now gone. Our teams are in market and winning some really exciting business.”

There is also a number of other significant transport, commercial and urban projects which will compliment or support Auckland’s business events offering, that are underway.

“While this does mean there’s a lot of construction going on, Auckland is very much open for business,” says Mr Armitage.

“There’s also a lot of work going on to make sure that people can still move around the city as seamlessly as possible, and that the visitor experience still remains world-class, including for delegates attending business events.

“To help prepare the destination for all of this change and maximise the opportunities that lie ahead we have been working on a new strategic direction for Auckland’s visitor economy.”

With significant input from Auckland’s visitor sector ATEED has developed the Destination AKL Strategy which sees a dramatic shift from the previous five year visitor marketing plan towards a destination management strategy.

“Simply put, 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,” says Mr Armitage.

“Destination management does not replace destination marketing—the function of attracting visitors continues—but rather it overlays it.

“With our new strategic direction for Auckland, we will be pouring more resource and energy into pursuing business events, making sure we remain competitive with other destinations and are primed to seize more of the opportunities.”


  • Auckland Convention Bureau is part of ATEED – Auckland’s economic growth agency, and an Auckland Council Controlled Organisation.
  • The Auckland Business Events Plan was launched in August 2014. The plan’s target is to grow the value of the sector from $236 million in 2013 to $430 million annually by 2023.
  • Tourism New Zealand manages the Conference Assistance Programme (CAP) which provides support for anyone considering hosting an international conference in New Zealand.
  • Auckland is home to almost half of New Zealand’s tech sector with GDP of $7.8 billion and employing 47,000 people. An additional 9000 jobs were created in the technology sector in the last five years, and nearly 26 per cent growth in the tech sector’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been achieved.
  • Auckland’s goal is to be recognised as an innovation hub in the Asia-Pacific region. Encouraging high-tech industries into Auckland and growing world-class research, talent and technology-based ventures is resulting in financial and employment benefits for both the Auckland and national economy.
Anika Forsman
Senior Communications Advisor