New Zealand announces return of business events
On 3 June 2020, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the long-awaited return of mass gatherings.
Due to New Zealand's success in eliminating COVID-19, mass gatherings of any size will be back on the table as of next week, with many business events professionals praising this decision.
Conventions and Incentives New Zealand Chief Executive Lisa Hopkins said the industry is pleased to be accelerating the return back to business, starting with a domestic audience.
“Getting to this level has taken less time than we originally envisaged back in March, and we are now the envy of the world. New Zealand’s team of five million has proved we can unite against this virus, and our industry is committed to keeping New Zealand safe for meetings.
"We want people to understand business events are the safest type of event you can hold, because they are highly organised and managed by professionals who work under strict codes of practice,” she says.
“Our message is it is safe to hold a conference, seminar, workshop, incentive travel event and gala dinner under already-developed and enhanced track, tracing, health and hygiene standards. We will also be working with the broader events sector to develop a voluntary code, to support New Zealand’s efforts in the key area of public health.”
Brett Jeffrey, General Manager, Australasian (NZ) Society of Association Executives says customers can feel confident to move forward with their industry events. “This is a positive step forward and will go a long way to providing much needed reassurance that planning for association conferences can begin in earnest.”
Arna Wahl Davies, Chair of the CINZ Approved Professional Conference Organisers (PCO) Group says New Zealand’s business event organisers have always led the world in terms of best-practice.
“Once again we will be showing leadership by maintaining the high protocols and processes we had prior to Covid-19, and which have been further enhanced during the pandemic, and we won’t be going back. As accredited event professionals, we will be voluntarily working to ensure the highest possible standards of hygiene, tracking and tracing to ensure business events are safe now and in future,” she says.
“New Zealand’s reputation as a world leader for government COVID-19 communication and elimination, coupled with our excellent venues and infrastructure, and professional people, puts us in line to be one of the most globally-trusted places to meet,” Lisa Hopkins says.
NZ government announces support for regional tourism organisations
The New Zealand government has announced a $20.2 million package to support Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) and stimulate the recovery of the sector after COVID-19.
Regional Tourism New Zealand (RTNZ) Chair David Perks has described the relief package as “far-reaching and very welcome as every region looks to rebuild its tourism sector in a sustainable and resilient manner."
“Tourism in every region has suffered a huge economic blow because of COVID-19. RTOs are extremely well-positioned to play an invaluable role to boost a sector rebound by marketing their respective regions, developing tourism experiences and providing support to businesses. This will translate into greater economic returns to their communities.
“The Government has recognised the important role played by RTO’s to help reignite the visitor economy, support efforts to quickly stimulate domestic demand, and deliver the goals of the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy.”
Mr Perks said local government, who by and large are the owners and principal funders of RTOs, are under financial pressure as they grapple with the pandemic.
“We know councils recognise the importance of tourism to the vibrancy and economic vitality of their communities and they will be hugely appreciative of the Government support.”
Mr Perks also noted that RTNZ did not see this funding for its members as replacing traditional local government funding.
“It is a significant additional boost to RTO’s to sustain their organisations and, importantly, support their local industry so it can rebuild and recover from the impacts of the Covid-crisis.
“We thank the Minister and government for this timely investment which will support grassroots recovery from this immense impact of the pandemic felt across the whole of New Zealand.”