International conference awarded for new convention centre

The first international conference is scheduled for Christchurch’s new convention centre, putting on the pressure for the complex to be finished by its 2017 target.

Christchurch has won rights to two international conferences, which should bring an estimated $3 million to the local economy, the Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Centre Bureau (CCCCB) announced today.

The Asia-Oceania Conference of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine is due to be held in Christchurch at the convention centre in November 2018. It will bring 800 delegates and an estimate $2.1m to the city. 

CCCCB manager Caroline Blanchfield said it would be the first international conference to be held in the new centre.

Winning the rights had “put our city back on the world stage as an international conference destination,” she said.

“It’s a huge vote of confidence in the rebuild of Christchurch and what we have to offer as a city.”

In 2010, Christchurch had a conference market share of 24 per cent. Following the 2011 earthquakes, that dropped to 2 per cent. 

Blanchfield said the market had now recovered to 10 per cent, due mostly to domestic conferencing, but she anticipated strong growth when the convention centre was completed. 

“International conferences want the convention centre. That’s the beginning and the end of it,” she said.

Work on the the Convention Centre is due to begin this year, with an opening date in 2017.

Blanchfield said she had been assured by the Christchurch Central Development Unit the centre would be finished on time. 

“That’s the information they give us every time, so that’s what we’re going on, she said.”

Blanchfield said there were other options in the city for that capacity of conference if the convention centre was delayed, but it was “essential” for the recovery of the business tourism market. 

“Recovery back to 24 per cent will be largely dependent on the infrastructure – not only the convention centre but conferencing hotels as well.”

Another conference, the International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE), will host more than 400 IT and education experts for five days in November 2017, worth an estimated $900,000 for the local economy.

The ICCE will take place at the Air Force Museum at Wigram, as the convention centre may not be finished on time. The estimates of money brought in by conference attendees do not include travel in the country pre or post-conference. 


  • Tess McClure
  • The Press

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