Hospitality Business Magazine

Virtual Reality heads to Christchurch

Christchurch is to host the 29th ACM Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST) symposium in October 2023.

Over 300 delegates are expected for the three-day programme at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre. The interdisciplinary conference, secured by academic lead Professor Rob Lindeman, Director of University of Canterbury’s HIT Lab NZ will include Virtual Reality (VR) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), engineering, science, design, psychology, education, medicine and gaming experts.

ChristchurchNZ Head of Business Events, Megan Crum says the city is a premier business events hub with modern new infrastructure set in an inspirational destination.

“We are delighted to be welcoming international VR software and technology experts to our smart city. They will find a vibrant innovation ecosystem and a wealth of talent and knowledge to share in this beautiful South Island location,” she says.

Ōtautahi Christchurch, home to the University of Canterbury HIT Lab NZ, celebrated 20 years as a world leader in mixed-reality research and development this year.

Professor Lindeman says the conference will allow the Christchurch VRST community to host experts from around the globe, creating a valuable platform for discussion and connection, and an opportunity to showcase their thought leadership globally.

“The HIT Lab NZ focuses on helping support people in carrying out their work and leisure tasks. New Zealand companies and organisations regularly come to us, asking how immersive technologies can help them in providing solutions to real problems. Whether it’s Fire and Emergency (FENZ), SnowSportsNZ, or for-profit companies, our students and staff love working on impactful projects.”

“As well as the HIT Lab NZ, Ōtautahi Christchurch also boasts a strong video game and creative culture, with several independent and medium-sized companies, and an open sharing vibe around embracing the future together,” he says.

“We look forward to sharing knowledge and networking with the international community, who was quick to jump at the chance to come to Christchurch next year. Christchurch ticks all the boxes as a progressive, forward-thinking city, easily accessed through Christchurch International Airport, with the opportunity to explore the region after the event,” he says.

Tourism New Zealand General Manager New Zealand & Business Events, Bjoern Spreitzer says:“This is a great win for New Zealand, bringing high-quality visitors to our shores who will explore Aotearoa and share their expertise and build networks with our local specialists in the growing VR field.”