A flying visit

By Gill South

The pressure is on corporates to fit in as many meetings as possible during trips to other cities, which is why meeting places in and around major airports can be a God-send.

Talk to commuters and they have all kinds of recommendations to make. One high-profile economist likes the Miramar Links golf course - its carpark is a handy 200m walk away from Wellington International airport.

Perry White, director of golf at the club, says the course is open to casual players as well as individual and corporate members.

The club was redesigned in 1995 with modern conference facilities, a cafe and the usual shower facilities - always handy for travellers.

Corporate membership is available for $6000 which includes free access once a month to conference facilities. You can play the odd game with a client, and have the course to yourself one day a year.

Wellington International Airport has upgraded its meeting and conference facilities due to strong demand, according to spokeswoman Louise Murray.

Within the conference facilities large rooms are complemented by a new space for smaller meetings. All the rooms have fantastic views over the sea, says Murray, and can be hired for as little as an hour.

If you want to go off-site from Auckland International Airport, there are a number of meeting places five minutes' drive away.

If you're out to impress, the Villa Maria Winery Estate on Montgomery Rd in Mangere is well worth a visit. The area also has a number of hotels, including the four-star Jet Park Airport Hotel and The Hotel Grand Chancellor, which both have boardroom and conference facilities.

If you're entertaining overseas visitors, Auckland airport's new marae, which opened last year in partnership with Tainui, is available for meetings.

This would be ideal for greeting visiting dignitaries, suggests an airport spokeswoman.

While Christchurch International Airport has no on-site facilities, you're spoilt for choice in the immediate vicinity, says airport communications and marketing manager Chelsea Halliwell.

For example, the International Antarctic Centre suits both tourists and executives. There is a licensed cafe and bar for short meetings, and if you decide to hold a big event that's no problem - the Centre's marquees accommodate up to 1400 people.

Other venues include the upmarket Native Garden restaurant in nearby Russley, and the boutique winery Hinton's Estate, which has an on-site restaurant and cafe tasting room.

Dunedin International Airport, about 26km from the city centre, makes life easy for visiting executives. The airport, which won Airport of the Year in 2006, has new conference facilities with breathtaking views to the Taieri Plains and Maungatua hills.

Meetings can be held for between two and 146 people. Such are the facilities, some people fly in and never make it into town.

- Detours, HoS

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