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Infrastructure NZ Symposium injects more than $2 million into Rotorua economy

Infrastructure New Zealand’s annual Building Nations Symposium will inject more than $2 million into the local Rotorua economy this week, says Paul Blair, incoming CEO of Infrastructure NZ.

The country’s largest infrastructure conference begins on Wednesday, August 21 at Rotorua’s Energy Events Centre, hosting more than 700 delegates across three days.

"Economic analysts, Infometrics estimate that almost $2.5 million will be spent in Rotorua over the duration of the Building Nations Symposium, without accounting for any additional spending before or after the conference," says Paul.

Delegates will come from across New Zealand, as well as the UK, Australia, Japan and China to attend the symposium, showcasing Rotorua as an important international conference destination. Infrastructure New Zealand is bringing a range of high profile speakers to Rotorua for the symposium, including four Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, six mayors and council CEOs, the former CEO of Manchester City Council, the Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand, the chief executive of the Water Industry Commission for Scotland, and numerous other infrastructure leaders.

The first two days of the symposium will be dedicated to discussion around regional growth and development, but on Friday, August 24, the focus will firmly be on Rotorua, with delegates taking part in a range of iconic Rotorua tourist activities, including the Skyline Gondola and Luge, Ziplining with Rotorua Canopy Tours, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Explorer and Whakarewarewa, the Living Maori Village.

Local accommodation providers also stand to benefit, with at least 1400 accommodation bookings over the two nights of the symposium. Flights into Rotorua from Auckland are completely sold out for Tuesday, August 20.

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says the city was honoured to host the symposium.

"This year’s theme of Building Regions epitomises the period of growth that Rotorua is currently undergoing and we are excited to share with delegates some of the work that is underway. This is the second biggest event Rotorua will host this year so I am excited that our city will be able to benefit from visitors keen to experience what we have to offer."

"This year’s symposium will also be one of the country’s most sustainable," Blair says, "with an emphasis on minimising waste and maximising benefits for the Rotorua community.

"The event will have a waste-minimisation policy, with no single use coffee cups, bottles, or straws, and recycled materials used wherever possible.

"We have worked with our exhibitors, sponsors, and key suppliers to reuse materials, minimise packaging, use local staff wherever possible, and eliminate giveaways to ensure our symposium produces as little waste as possible.

"We have also worked extensively with our caterers to minimise food waste. All excess food will be donated to the Love Soup Charity who support the homeless community in Rotorua.

"Our caterers will also collect any leftover food scraps, diverting them from landfills and donating them to a livestock farm in the Rotorua region," says Blair.

"This year’s symposium will leverage local suppliers to reduce food miles and maximise our positive impact in the region. An estimated $200,000 will be spent with local caterers alone. Some delegates will also be giving back by volunteering with a local environmental organisation, setting traps to rid pests from a local native forest area.

"Bringing one of New Zealand’s largest conferences to Rotorua is an exciting opportunity to showcase the regions and their value to the infrastructure industry.

"This year’s theme is Building Regions, and discussion will centre on how to empower the heartland to drive regional development in New Zealand.

"Infrastructure NZ is proud that the Building Nations Symposium will bring over $2 million to the Rotorua economy while also being one of the most sustainable events in the country," says Blair.

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