Dunedin and the University of Otago have successfully bid for the 2022 World Leisure Congress, which will bring between 500 and 1000 international delegates to the city and an estimated $1.7 million contribution to the local economy.
The ten-day event, which has a focus on ‘learn well, live well’, will be staged at the University of Otago and is expected to attract leisure practitioners, policy makers and academics from across the globe.
The successful bid was a collaborative effort between Enterprise Dunedin and the University of Otago, supported by Tourism New Zealand.
Business Events Tourism Advisor for Enterprise Dunedin, Nicole Carvell, said the conference is relevant to New Zealand, where cities like Dunedin are seeking to transform their communities by creating sustainable leisure environments.
“Dunedin was selected based on extensive criteria including design, policies and programmes that illustrate best practice in leisure, joining the ranks of previous host cities such as Sao Paolo and Quebec.
“The conference will shine the light on the exceptional leisure activities available here, aligning to the Dunedin Destination Plan and enhancing our reputation as a desirable place to visit, live, work, study and invest,” she said.
Head of the University of Otago’s Department of Tourism, Professor Neil Carr, said the Congress is the largest leisure academic conference in the world.
“For us, it’s a huge opportunity to reinforce that Otago is one of the leading tourism/leisure academic departments in the world.”
“Earlier this year, we were awarded World Leisure Centre of Excellence status, and this will allow us to showcase what the University of Otago has to offer and to create opportunities to work with other world-leading academics and the wider community.”
Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago Business School, Professor Robin Gauld, said the successful bid “demonstrates a strengthening of the partnership between the Otago Business School and the Dunedin City Council and other key stakeholders in the provision of leisure in New Zealand”.
The bi-annual conference is overseen by the World Leisure Organisation, a membership based NGO that promotes the importance of available and accessible leisure pursuits as an integral part of human health and wellbeing. This can be participation in sports, travel, the arts or other such activities and encouraging access and inclusion for all.
Hosting the conference will help build the case for achieving a World Leisure Community of Excellence designation. This title is bestowed by the World Leisure Organisation on communities that have successfully used leisure to improve the economic, social and cultural lives of their citizens.