A tourism leader is warning big events in 2021 will put strain on Auckland hotels and need to be promoted carefully to avoid damaging the sector.

The America's Cup will be sailed early in the year and that November the Apec leaders' meeting will ''take over Auckland'' at a time when planned new hotels may not necessarily be finished.

It is estimated there will be 10,000 delegates and 3000 media in the city for leaders week - the highlight of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation event.

While the event's organisers are confident the city will cope, Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said that even with if the reported new hotel developments were finished in time, Auckland would struggle to accommodate Apec and the usual number of visitors at that time of the year.

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''For the government delegations they're talking about 9000 rooms - it's not far off requiring every possible hotel room including those which haven't been built yet,'' he said.

There had been consultation on how to meet the demand.

''There are very strong imperatives to get it right because it would be very embarrassing to not meet a basic requirement such as having enough rooms for all these delegates.''

Research from real estate firm CBRE has found that based on the current pipeline of hotels either planned or under construction, there would be an extra 2200 rooms in the city by January 2021 - just before the scheduled America's Cup racing - on top of the current supply of 10,000 rooms.

''Our probability adjusted pipeline suggests that only 1900 will be constructed of which 1000 are currently under construction,'' said Peter Hamilton.

''In saying this, timing of delivery will be the major risk factor for 2021 as the majority of hotel projects currently under construction have suffered delays, with the America's Cup less than two and a half years away and 900-1200 rooms in the pipeline that haven't commenced construction it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the proposed completion dates.''

Roberts said the government would encourage public servants to stay out of Auckland for that period but there were still other people who needed to travel to Auckland and be accommodated.

President Bill Clinton arrives for the 1999 Apec Leaders summit at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo / Paul Estcourt
President Bill Clinton arrives for the 1999 Apec Leaders summit at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Among Apec's 21 members are the US, China and Russia whose leaders and their big delegations could take over entire hotels.

''The logistics are quite significant and that's why planning has started three years out. Displacement is a major concern - we know that from other events like this,'' said Roberts.

Leaders' week runs from November 8-14 and travellers needed to know there would be rooms free either side of this.

''If the market thinks that Auckland is full with Apec for the month of November then we risk having the situation where we have nobody around for three weeks and being extremely busy for one.''

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development says the city would be propelled into the global spotlight during the big week.

The city had successfully hosted Apec in 1999 and since that time had built a reputation for hosting a diverse range of global major events, said destination general manager Steve Armitage.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says Apec would be the biggest event ever hosted by the government.

''With that comes an enormous amount of logistics and co-ordination that we are actively working on. We are working closely with a range of partners, including central and local government agencies, iwi, commercial partners and business interests to showcase New Zealand to the world,'' said Andrea Smith, MFAT deputy secretary for APEC 2021.

''These conversations have been productive and we are optimistic Auckland will be able to accommodate the expected influx of visitors to the city over this period,'' she said.