New Zealand counts down to tourism fair

The countdown to the New Zealand tourism industry’s largest annual international tourism trade event has begun, with work beginning this week to erect the 4000 square metres of marquee space required for TRENZ 2006.For four days, from Monday 12 June through to Thursday 15 June, Christchurch will host almost 400 key international tourism and travel buyers who have travelled from all over the world to do business with a similar number of New Zealands leading tourism operators.

The buyers are tour operators and travel agents who come to purchase accommodation, transport and activities at wholesale rates, and include them in brochures and itineraries for forthcoming seasons.More than 1500 people are expected to attend the event, with the main business taking place at the Westpac Centre.

Here, in 408 stands, the tourism industrys attractions, accommodation and transport sectors will be on show along with visitor destination organisations such as Tourism New Zealand, regional tourism organisations (RTOs) and tourism industry associations. Tourism is now New Zealands largest foreign exchange earning industry and a key driver of regional economic development. The professionalism and quality of the visitor experiences on display at TRENZ certainly makes it clear that tourism is not a cottage industry, Tourism Industry Association (TIA) Chief Executive Fiona Luhrs says.While it is the third year in succession that Christchurch has hosted TRENZ, an array of enhancements is ensuring the event stays fresh and reflects the innovation that has turned tourism into a $17.2 billion industry, Ms Luhrs says.These enhancements include improved theming and signage at the venue, changes to the format of networking functions, communications and catering. In particular, the catering recognises the many cultures represented by TRENZ buyers, who are coming from 33 countries.We estimate that business generated from TRENZ is worth about $2 billion to the New Zealand economy. TRENZ is an important forum for the New Zealand industry to showcase product, forge relationships with international tourism buyers and even write business for the seasons ahead, Ms Luhrs says.TRENZ features a sophisticated appointment system designed to maximise business opportunities for exhibitors and buyers, who will each spend about 765 minutes in a series of 15-minute appointments during the event.The hi-tech appointment software allows buyers and exhibitors to register online, timetables the tens of thousands of appointments and allows cancellations or additions to schedules. It lets buyers and exhibitors view an online diary of their appointments, and enables them search for information on individual buyers or exhibitors. Innovations at TRENZ this year include an effort to combat skills shortages and attract people to work in the tourism industry. School principals, tourism teachers and career advisors have been invited to TRENZ to see the wealth and diversity of career opportunities tourism has to offer.A VIP programme on Thursday 15 June will see leaders who are influential in tourism, business, finance, central and local government invited to TRENZ to discover the size and scope of the tourism industry in New Zealand.TRENZ also attracts about 60 international and New Zealand journalists to take part in a busy media programme and research the latest products and innovations in the New Zealand tourism industry.TRENZ is managed by TIA in partnership with Tourism New Zealand and supported by Air New Zealand, Qantas and Christchurch & Canterbury Marketing. For more information, visit Key statistics about tourism: Tourism is the world’s fastest growing industry New Zealand tourism arrivals have doubled in size since 1994 to 2.38 million Forecast annual growth is 4.7% on average for at least the next five years Tourism is New Zealand’s single largest export sector and contributed $7.4 billion dollars to the economy in the year ended March 2004. That is 18.5% of exports Domestic tourism contributes $9.8 billion to the economy each year Tourism directly and indirectly employs 10 percent of the work force. That is one in 10 jobs in New Zealand. Tourism represents 9.4% of gross domestic product and generates nearly $500 million in GST returns from international visitors each year. Tourism is the only export sector whose international clients pay GST.