In a milestone for Queenstown's recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, the first post-lockdown conference was held in the resort this week.
Nearly 30 business owners from throughout the country attended the two-day conference at the Crowne Plaza Queenstown hotel.
It was organised by The Icehouse, a non-profit trust set up by the University of Auckland Business School that works with businesses to help them grow.
The Icehouse facilitator Darl Kolb said all the businesses had an annual turnover of at least $3 million and represented a spectrum of the economy, including forestry, wine, real estate and information technology.
"It's one of the best unknown business networks in New Zealand," Kolb said.
The trust usually held conferences in the resort twice a year.
"Doing it face to face in a wonderful setting like this is a great treat."
Crowne Plaza Queenstown general manager Stewart Manson said the hotel was originally planning to reopen on July 1, after 12 weeks of hibernation, but brought that forward to accommodate the group.
"Although recovery from Covid will certainly take a while, this is a positive indicator that there's demand for meetings."
Some new and repeat customers had already confirmed events for later in the year, Manson said.
Destination Queenstown interim chief executive Ann Lockhart said she was delighted by the milestone, and conferences, incentive programmes and other business events would play an important role in the district's recovery.
The regional tourism organisation generated about $47 million worth of leads for the resort last year through its conference and incentive bureau.
"Queenstown is a world-class destination for business events, and it's fantastic to see the recovery begin in this sector."