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2022 World Leisure Congress coming to Otago

Monday 10 September 2018 1:28pm

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Dunedin will be host to the 2022 World Leisure Congress, thanks to a successful bid by the University in conjunction with the Dunedin City Council and Tourism New Zealand.

The Department of Tourism and Otago Business School are delighted to be announcing their winning bid for the 2022 World Leisure Congress.

The Congress, the world’s largest leisure academic conference, will bring more than 500 leading leisure and tourism academics from around the world to Dunedin, reinforcing the department’s status as leaders in this area of study.

The bid, which was made in conjunction with the Dunedin City Council and supported by Tourism New Zealand, will attract up to 1000 participants, and deliver an estimated $1.7 million contribution to the local economy.

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Professor Neil Carr.

Head of Department, Professor Neil Carr, says 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 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”.

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.

"For us, it’s a huge opportunity to reinforce that Otago is one of the leading tourism/leisure academic departments in the world."

“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.

The bi-annual conference is overseen by the World Leisure Organization, 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 for Dunedin. 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.