Business event leaders are hopeful an international convention being hosted in Christchurch will bring economic activity back to the city's struggling economy.
There were 300 Australian and 200 New Zealand attendees at the MEETINGS tradeshow to talk to tourism vendors from across the country, aiming to book events and tourism incentive programs for their companies.
Minister of Economic Development Stuart Nash opened the event, hosted at Christchurch's new convention centre, Te Pae.
He highlighted the $54 million investment into tourism recovery in this year's budget, and said business events would be an important way to maintain international tourism.
"All the data shows that international conference visitors actually spend more than any other visitor.
"They leave as storytellers, and come back with their families and friends, and spend a lot of money."
"Expect to see the government absolutely backing you 110 percent."
Christchurch NZ head of business events Megan Crum said the conference would help the city finally return to pre-earthquake economic levels.
"It's just incredible to have the industry back together, the excitement for everyone to be together face-to-face," she said.
"What we're looking forward to now is, with all the new hotels coming online, the new convention centre, the town hall, the Isaac Theatre Royal, having people back in the city, and getting us back to where we were pre-earthquake."
The flow-on effect of business events on the city's economy could not be underestimated, Crum said.
"One of the Uber drivers said to me, he couldn't believe what an impact it had been on his business, having this convention centre open."
Tourism vendors across the country were eager to be meeting prospective buyers at the convention.
Megan Garland of Brooke Serene, which manages two hotels in Christchurch and Rotorua, said the opportunity was two years in the making.
"It's so exciting to be back into meeting and seeing all our new buyers across Australia and New Zealand.
"We're already seeing overseas inquiries, and we're seeing people back into the country."
Rianne Kuiper of the Marlborough Sounds Bay of Many Coasts Resort said it was good timing after two quiet summers.
"It's really slow in the winter-time, so it's good that the borders are going to open again, and we'll see people from Australia as well, we can't wait."
MEETINGS NZ would conclude on Thursday.