NEW ZEALAND rugby legend John Kirwan was among the speakers at BE Reconnected – the country’s only showcase this year for the business events industry.
The All Black star turned TV pundit joined Cam Calkoen, who overcame disability to become a gold-medal athlete, and motivational author and humourist Lisa O’Neill.
BE Reconnected, organised by Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA), gathered more than over 420 event organisers and suppliers from around the country at the Aotea Centre, Auckland, on December 1.
BEIA said the event showed business events are not only safe, but also a vital component for widespread economic recovery.
Lisa Hopkins, BEIA chief executive, said the event also highlighted the pent-up demand to gather in person with colleagues at meetings and incentives
“More than 290 buyers walked through show floor connecting with 120 suppliers, which will go towards supporting domestic recovery. We are thrilled with the enthusiasm this event created, and how much was accomplished in one day,” Hopkins said.
Every attendee scanned the Covid tracer app on arrival, before walking past a thermo-imaging camera on entry to the show floor. Individually packed lunches and disposable cups for drinks, allowed guests to quickly grab and go. A St John first responder was on site for the entire day, to ensure immediate medical attention if needed. Masks were be given away for those who wished to wear one at the event, and everyone who travelled to the event by air, or public transport was required to wear a mask while travelling. Safety Measures icon on the BE Reconnected Event App, showed all the practices implemented for BE Reconnected.
“Ours is a multibillion-dollar industry with far reaching impact and business events will play a critical role supporting economic recovery.”
Hopkins said three international convention centre were due to open in New Zealand over the next three years with at least a thousand jobs created as a result while also supporting other industries such as accommodation, hospitality, food producers and suppliers, and airlines.
Lisa Gardiner, Tourism New Zealand business events global manager, presented results of a recent industry survey which showed Covid-19 had increased the value New Zealanders put on face-to-face meetings.
The survey of 125 New Zealand-based organisations found that 97 per cent are planning to hold a business event in 2021.
“The appetite for meeting is coupled with an increasingly positive attitude towards business events: 92 per cent consider in-person conferences and offsite meetings important for their organisation, up from 79 per cent of respondents in Tourism New Zealand’s May 2020 survey; and more than half (56 per cent) said they appreciate the importance of face-to-face meetings more now than pre-Covid-19, up from 39 per cent in May,” Gardiner said.