Bureau created to bring conferences to Oamaru

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The newly-formed Oamaru Convention Bureau will make it easier for conference organisers to recognise the benefit of coming to Oamaru, Tourism Waitaki general manager Jason Gaskill says.

Tourism Waitaki formally set up the Oamaru Convention Bureau a few weeks ago as a way to offer advice and information to conference organisers to encourage them to bring their conferences to the region.

Mr Gaskill said there had been a lot of conference work previously done behind the scenes but having the bureau would give people a single point of contact – one which was solely focused on bringing conferences to the area.

“We believe that Oamaru stacks up very well against other destinations.

“We have an amazing set of facilities in our district that cater for them.”

Oamaru woman Metka Conlan was appointed as the Oamaru Convention Bureau executive and has been in the role since last Monday.

Her role has so far included trying to bring more conferences to the area, joining up with Conventions & Incentives New Zealand, attending a trade show and working on a bid for a conference in 2017.

Conference organisers would look for a convention bureau when they were trying to chose a location and in her role, Mrs Conlan would be able to offer impartial advise and in depth knowledge about the area.

Having more conferences in Oamaru would bring people to the district for at least two or three days to use accommodation, transport, venues, restaurants and more, she said.

“It benefits all sorts of operators.

“There is such huge potential here in Oamaru.”

The architecture, top-class facilities and venues as well as Steampunk and Victorian elements were huge draw cards for conference organisers and made Oamaru stand out from other towns and cities.

“We’re quite quirky and very unique compared to most other destinations in New Zealand.”

Mrs Conlan, originally from Tasmania, worked at the Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau for three years before coming to Oamaru.

During her time here she helped set up the Oamaru Farmers Market and worked in marketing and promotion for the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust for two years.

If there’s anyone in Oamaru that thinks they can encourage their industry conference to come here Mrs Conlan would love to help them and can be contacted on 03 434 1655.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

NEW EXECUTIVE: Newly appointed Oamaru Convention Bureau executive Metka Conlan has been busy during her first week.