SGL led a future strategic review of the Auckland Lantern Festival, a 4-day event then attracting about 200,000 visitors and involving over 1,000 performers, 800 lanterns and about a $1.3M budget. The purpose of the review was to consider how to increase the cultural, community, and economic benefit from the event on a sustainable basis. Key strategies considered were, with the then future proposed development of the new SkyCity Convention Centre, how the week could promote improved engagement with Chinese businesses and that this period becomes a focus for NZ-China business and trade promotions; and with then 20,000 international Chinese students in New Zealand, how the Festival could become the week for families of current and prospective international students to visit New Zealand.
Event strategies considered, to be implemented on a phased basis, included digital strategies to improve on-site navigation, access, awareness and engagement; increasing the range and quality of food and beverage options, in particular higher quality offerings; coordinating arts and cultural programmes at the Auckland Museum and Auckland Art Gallery; providing city-centre entertainment activities (such as at SkyCity), retail business engagement and event branding linkages (e.g., via lantern trails); and over time the development of domestic and international tourism destination packages and co-promotion with the Christchurch and Wellington Lantern Festivals. In turn this event strategy (was a necessary pre-requisite to and) provided a compelling platform to develop and build an investor partner family.