17 Aug 2021

Main centres biggest winners from regional tourism fund

4:45 pm on 17 August 2021

The Tourism Minister has revealed how a multi-million dollar fund first announced in May will be split up to improve and promote regional tourism.

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Tourism Minister Stuart Nash Photo: Dom Thomas

Today, Stuart Nash announced what each of the country's 31 regional tourism organisations would receive and what some of the funding would be used for.

The biggest winners receiving $1.5 million were Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

The Southland Regional Development Agency received the largest sum in total, but it has been split into $700,000 for Fiordland and $1 million for the wider region.

Investment started from $400,000 for small organisations which Trust Tairāwhiti, Destination Wairarapa, Development West Coast, Destination Kaikōura, Hurunui Tourism, the Mackenzie District focused area of ChristchurchNZ, Tourism Waitaki and Clutha Development all received.

"Domestic tourism is experiencing a boom as Kiwis take the opportunity to 'do something new' and see more of their own backyard," Nash said.

"Tourism agencies in our regions work hard behind the scenes to ensure they can deliver on their promise to visitors. We all want tourism to be sustainable, well-managed, and for everyone with a stake in the visitor economy to collaborate.

"The government is backing regional efforts with a new round of funding for RTOs for the coming year, to support local jobs and businesses and keep up the momentum of economic recovery."

The common themes of where the funding would go include improving destination management, collaborating across regional boundaries, sustainable tourism and collaboration with iwi.

"This investment provides further help for places 'off the beaten track' impacted by the absence of international visitors, like Waitomo in the North Island, and South Island areas of Fiordland, Kaikoura, Mackenzie District, Queenstown Lakes, and south Westland," he said.

The regional tourism organisations worked alongside the industry, community groups, iwi, councils and other stakeholders on destination management plans to detail how they would collaborate together, he said.

The funding was allocated based on the size of the regional tourism organisations - either small, medium, medium-large or large.

Medium sized organisations including Northland Inc, Destination Coromandel Trust, Visit Ruapehu, Destination Marlborough and Venture Timaru received $700,000 each.

The medium-large organisations were allocated $1 million including Hawke's Bay Tourism, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, Destination Great Lake Taupo, Nelson Regional Development Agency, Venture Taranaki Trust, Dunedin City Council, Lake Wanaka Tourism and Central Otago District Council.

The funding enabled organisations to enhance destination management plans, build industry skills and capability, develop new products and ideas to attract visitors, promote sustainable tourism, and roll out marketing, Nash said.

"For example the Hamilton & Waikato RTO will focus on ways to foster regenerative tourism. It will build region-wide capability and develop 'good' guides showcasing Waikato visitor experiences that embrace regenerative tourism and add value to communities.

"The Destination Coromandel RTO has worked alongside iwi to focus on the 400-kilometre coastline. Their plan involves a celebration of the provenance of their kai moana, sourced by sustainable fishing methods.

"WellingtonNZ and Nelson Regional Development Agency are working with local tourism businesses to support them to become more sustainable, or offer new visitor products and experiences that have a low carbon footprint."

Nash said they were also working towards strengthening their visitor economies for when international visitors returned.

Regional Tourism New Zealand received $200,000 to provide support and help build capability within organisations across Aotearoa.

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