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University to host prestigious conference on reptiles and amphibians

Thursday, 1 September 2016 9:13am

Phil-Bishop-image
Professor Phil Bishop.

Dunedin and the University of Otago have won the rights to host the prestigious 9th World Congress of Herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians) to be held in 2020.

Professor Phil Bishop, from the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago and internationally renowned amphibian advocate, delivered Dunedin’s bid to the recent World Congress delegation in Hangzhou, China.

Dunedin was successful as host ahead of other bids from countries including Kenya, Hungary, Morocco and Australia.

“This is a fantastic win, not just for New Zealand, but specifically for Dunedin and the University of Otago,” he says.

“We will have the opportunity to showcase our university and city to hundreds of international biologists, as the wildlife and scientific capital of New Zealand.”

“The conference delegates in China were particularly excited about our unique fauna. While our Australian counterparts have hundreds of species of reptiles and amphibians, we have a much smaller number in New Zealand - but what we lack in quantity we make up for in quality,” says Professor Bishop.

The 9th World Congress of Herpetology will be hosted by the University of Otago’s Department of Zoology.

Widespread benefits from hosting the conference

Professor Bishop says working with Enterprise Dunedin and Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) has been a pleasure; they produce excellent materials for both the hard copy bid documents and the presentation. “The Conference Assistance Programme was extremely helpful in today’s economic climate where funds for conference participation are limited.”

The six-day international conference will attract up to 1000 delegates to the city, translating to up to 6000 room nights and will bring in an estimated $2.1 million to the local economy.

The win is a successful collaboration between the University of Otago, Enterprise Dunedin and Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) using their Conference Assistance Programme (CAP).

“This continued success in attracting international conferences has shown that there is an appetite for the unique offerings Dunedin has as a conference destination,” says Enterprise Dunedin’s Business Events Tourism Advisor Bree Jones.

“This international conference will showcase Dunedin’s strengths in scientific research out of the University of Otago, and highlight our world renowned natural environment, ecotourism experiences and unparalleled wildlife to the influential delegates who will be attending.”

Other recent conferences won through the CAP’s programme

  • Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections & Taxonomic Databases Working Group Joint Conference in 2018 – 350 delegates, estimated economic value $630,000.
  • The 54th World Congress of the International Sociology of Sport Association, to be held in autumn 2019 – 300 delegates, estimated economic value $525,000.