A very different theme for this year’s conference. While I am a personal fan of alliteration, the idea to Experience Extraordinary is not only what you will see in the calibre of our speakers at this year’s conference but is the expectation of our visitors and how do we transfer this feeling to them. I hope that what you will receive from conference is a different way of thinking, a way to challenge what is “extraordinary” and how do we as an industry continue to raise the bar given both pressures and opportunities we have in front of us. 

Fortunately, our location errs on the side of extraordinary. From the grapevines of Blenheim through to the peaks of the Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough is uniquely positioned to please everyone, and we hope that you take the opportunity to experience as much of it as possible. I count myself as blessed as I spent every school holiday with the Sounds as my playground, and there is so much more to the little township of Picton than connecting the North Island with the South. 

The conference content is being built as we speak but we can confirm a couple of speakers already. James Latham and Martin Sirk, with the wonderful support from Tourism New Zealand will be challenging us all to rethink how we view the business events industry. An industry favourite, Cameron Bagrie will be sharing his views on the economy just before we dive into the depths of the election cycle. We will be recognising and celebrating our Mentees from this year’s programme, and I look forward to sharing the work which would have been done by that time on New Zealand National Strategy. 

Of course, a BEIA conference would not be the same without some fabulous events included in the mix, and a couple of surprises as well.

My sincerest thanks to Bruce Moffat and the team at Destination Marlborough for partnering with BEIA on this important event.

  Lisa Hopkins
Chief Executive
Business Events Industry Aotearoa