Auckland secures $33m worth of business events from Australia through in-market presence

Auckland’s increased focus on developing the Australian market as a source of business events has paid dividends – resulting in the city hosting $33 million worth of business events since the Auckland Business Events Plan launched in 2014.


With excellent air links between the two countries, and short flying distances to and from the main centres, Auckland has always made for a compelling proposition for the Australian business events sector.

The Auckland Convention Bureau (ACB) identified however, that there were still many opportunities to drive further growth from Australia.

Head of ACB, Anna Hayward, says having an Australian-based Business Development Manager - one of the key actions identified in the Auckland Business Events Plan – in market for the past three years has been a driving force behind Auckland’s success.  

“We’ve been blown away at how much we’ve been able to grow Auckland’s Australian business, and really highlights just how much our sector values good relationships,” she says.  

“With motherhood calling for our previous BDM Edwina Fitzsimon, we have been on the hunt for a new Australian-based superstar. We are thrilled to have appointed Katrina O’Donnell to the position, someone who will be a familiar face to many in the industry.”

Hailing originally from Auckland, Katrina has more than 13 years’ experience in tourism and hospitality and extensive knowledge of the business events sector.

Her most recent role was as the Associate Director of Sales & Marketing at Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach where she worked for the past six years.

“With such rapid growth of infrastructure and other exciting developments taking place throughout Auckland it’s important for us to be able to provide the level of expertise and service our Australian clients require,” says Mrs Hayward.

“Katrina has an expert knowledge of what Auckland has to offer as a premium business events destination.”

Katrina O’Donnell will be joining the ACB team on the 100% Pure New Zealand stand at the upcoming AIME 2018 tradeshow in Melbourne from 20-21 February.


  • 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 thousand 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.