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Waikato all set to be 'best in show' for business events

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism’s Business Events Waikato Showcase on 10 August at Claudelands is on track to be best in show.  The inaugural event held last year attracted 42 exhibition stands and 117 buyers through the door.

Manager of Business Events Amanda Graham says, “this year over 50 venues and suppliers from throughout the Waikato Region have registered to exhibit and pre-show registrations are strong”. Exhibitors include conference and social function venues, accommodation, audio-visual and transport suppliers, activities, entertainers, theming and team building companies.

Graham is thrilled to announce new this year is The Speaker Showcase. Tourism New Zealand is sponsoring a panel discussion “Redefining Hamilton & Waikato as a Leading Business Events Destination”. Invited panel speakers are Associate Professor Ryan Ko, Director of the NZ Institute for Security and Crime Science at the University of Waikato and Head of the Cyber Security Researchers of Waikato; Jason Dawson, CEO Hamilton & Waikato Tourism; and Rachel Kelly, Director of SparkTank, Deputy Chair of NZ Technology Industry Association, and Executive Director of the Community and Enterprise Leadership Foundation.

The Panel will discuss how we position ourselves to ensure sustainable growth in the tourism sector; how we market ourselves to both domestic and international visitors; how businesses work collaboratively to promote the region; plus what are the challenges and opportunities the region faces.

Since 2011, the Hamilton & Waikato region has gone from strength to strength. Repositioning itself as a tourist destination, as well as establishing a dedicated Convention Bureau within the RTO (Regional Tourism Organisation) to develop and promote the region as a business events destination. The growth and the success of recent years is something to be incredibly proud of.

Celebrity speakers will also be showcased by Essential Talent, including Duncan Garner, award-winning television host, journalist and radio personality, who will talk about his journey from Parliament to The AM Show. Rob Hamill, former NZ rower and political candidate, will inspire attendees to pursue their dreams, take on challenges, overcome hardship against the odds and know that with passion anything is possible.

The Entertainment Showcase will feature versatile local performers Looking for Alaska who along with their band released their self-titled debut album in October 2016. The album spent five weeks on the NZ album chart and has been a finalist for the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut Album award at the 2017 Taite Music Prize.

Lyrica will perform excerpts from their Great Gatsby and Casino Royale Shows. Lyrica brings together three of New Zealand’s top vocal entertainers all from the Waikato, who are renowned for spine tingling performances and a ‘wow factor’ you will remember long after your event is over.

Montana Catering is providing delicious canapes for the networking drinks. Tastings will include Good George beers and cider, served with Over the Moon Cheeses, and Vilagrad wines.

Also new this year is a hosted buyer programme. The region will play host to 15 buyers from throughout New Zealand who will attend the tradeshow followed by a two-day familiarisation tour of venues and suppliers throughout the Waikato region. There are also some fantastic prize packages up for grabs for all attendees.

Graham says “it would not be possible to put on a showcase like this without the support of our sponsors - Premiere Sponsor Claudelands, and major sponsors Event Solutions, Montana Catering, Vidcom, Tourism New Zealand, Essential Talent and Barker Photography.