January 2023 update
By Jen Scoular
I am not a big celebrator of New Year and this year I was particularly reticent about the arrival of another year. Since 2015, NZ Avocado has been thinking about hosting a World Avocado Congress. For seven years it’s always been in the thinking. In 2019, we won the rights to host the 10th World Avocado Congress in Colombia, having previously been beaten in Peru four years prior. So on 31 December 2022, it was the last time I could say – oh yes, that’s next year. Wonderfully, I woke on the 1 January 2023 and thought – oh wow, it’s this year!
We have worked incredibly hard to sell the congress, here in New Zealand and across the world. Hosting a World Avocado Congress is not our bread and butter (we should really make a new saying – ‘it’s not our avocados on toast!’). But with huge effort from our wonderfully passionate team we have a very viable congress ahead of us.
Sponsorship and partnership now exceed our budget, current delegate numbers at 925 are well ahead of budget, and the global contingent is way ahead of budget. This does mean New Zealand sales to kiwis are below budget – we are not sure why more growers aren’t coming. We hope they make the positive decision attend in 2023.
We have nearly 600 delegates attending from 27 countries outside of NZ, and nearly 500 of those are from outside NZ and Australia. This is incredible testament as to how highly regarded the congress is amongst the global avocado community.
Risk still sits pretty high in the governance agenda, of covid, of travel bans, of fire or floods. But beyond that we start to imagine how fun it will be to have 1,000 avocado stakeholders under one roof. How much noise can those passionate visitors and kiwis make, as they network and share stories, and partake in a beer or two? How great will Auckland feel with 600 tourists, many who have never been in NZ before, wining and dining in the city?
The opportunity is much bigger than avocados from New Zealand. Most of the delegates will see and hear about so much more than avocados. We want to ensure they get a real taste of New Zealand, a flavour for our integrity, our innovation, our openness. We will go wide screen with what they see in New Zealand, the beauty, the nature, the care for our land and people. What do you think of when you think of amazing New Zealand? The people, the place or the product – or all three – surrounded by beauty, by nature and by care. I hope you’ve bought your ticket!