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ChristchurchNZ - logoIn a visionary leap towards sustainable development, ChristchurchNZ has announced the inception of The Conference Legacy Project, a three-year endeavour aimed at redefining the impact of business events on the picturesque city of Christchurch and the wider New Zealand environment. Launched with much anticipation at AIME 2024 this February, the project signifies Christchurch’s unwavering commitment to harnessing the full potential of business gatherings, not just as economic stimulants but as catalysts for societal progress and innovation.

Under the expert guidance of Professor Carmel Foley, a globally acclaimed researcher from the University of Technology Sydney, the initiative seeks to delve deep into the multifaceted benefits derived from hosting such events. The study will highlight several critical areas, including scientific advancements, industrial innovation, the attraction of global talents, enhancements in social policies, community well-being, cultural rejuvenation, and the stimulation of trade and investment opportunities.

Native tree planting in Christchurch.

Native tree planting in Christchurch.

Drawing parallels with Sydney’s successful eight-year evaluation framework, Christchurch’s ambitious project is poised to provide concrete, evidence-based insights into the myriad ways conferences can enrich the host community far beyond the immediate influx of tourism dollars. Megan Crum, the Head of Business Events at ChristchurchNZ, emphasizes the city’s evolution as a premier business event destination and its strategic approach to evaluating the enduring effects of these gatherings. “The insights garnered will be instrumental in sculpting future strategies and pinpointing lucrative funding avenues,” Crum asserts, highlighting the initiative’s strategic importance.

Among the early subjects of this comprehensive study is the 1,100-delegate-strong Asian Seed Congress, a large-scale international event recently hosted at the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre and supported by ChristchurchNZ. This event exemplifies the calibre of conferences the project aims to assess, promising to offer invaluable data on the long-tail benefits of such gatherings.

Echoing the project’s significance, Bjoern Spreitzer, the Tourism New Zealand General Manager for New Zealand and Business Events, lauds the research as a monumental stride towards understanding and leveraging the legacy impacts of business events. “This project aligns perfectly with Tourism New Zealand’s strategy of attracting high-caliber visitors who contribute positively to our nature, culture, society, and economy,” Spreitzer notes, underscoring the broader implications for sustainable growth across New Zealand.

The Conference Legacy Project is a testament to Christchurch’s innovative spirit and dedication to fostering a sustainable and prosperous future. By exploring the extensive ripple effects of business events, ChristchurchNZ sets a new standard for event hosting. It inspires cities globally to recognize and cultivate the profound, lasting impacts such gatherings can have on their communities.




Written by: Jill Walsh