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Waikato surges as conference and event destination

New event statistics confirm that the Waikato region’s share of the national conference and convention market grew strongly in the year to June 2013, outpacing its regional competitors.

The Convention Activity Survey (CAS), released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, confirms that Hamilton and Waikato rank as the third most important region in the national conference and event market, and that it is closing in on second-ranked Wellington.

In an impressive result, delegates attending conferences in the region doubled in the year to June 2013 and totalled 521,000 people. This result lifted the Waikato region’s national market share of conference activity from 9 percent to 11 percent. By way of contrast, Wellington declined 1 percent to 14 percent market share by June 2013.

Hamilton and Waikato enjoyed the best growth of any region in the country. The survey data implies that the region has enjoyed a significant jump in the utilisation of existing facilities since these have not expanded significantly in the last 12 months.

Claudelands is proving an important strategic investment for Hamilton. Conferences and exhibitions held in the facility have reflected the region’s national standing in fields which include dairying and agribusiness, medical, health sciences and education, horticulture, high-quality food production and science and technology.

Hamilton City’s Event Facilities Director of Business Development Murray Jeffrey says the market share growth reflects changing industry perceptions.

"Hamilton is now recognised as a serious contender for conferences and delegates and the new Claudelands venue is proving a source of surprise and delight to both organisers and attendees."

"These CAS statistics are excellent, but are already a few months old and we’ve seen continuing growth since they were taken. We’re predicting that the trend towards the Waikato will continue into 2014."