20 Jul 2009

Super-city seen as chance to lift Auckland tourism

7:08 am on 20 July 2009

Key players in Auckland's tourism sector hope the formation of a single super-city will help create billions of dollars of new business in the coming years.

Tourism accounts for about 5% of the Auckland regional economy,

is worth about $3 billion, and supporting 50,000 jobs - but most agree that promotion is fragmented and seriously underfunded.

Progress has been modest since a report nearly two years ago identified steps to significant growth.

Only three of Auckland's eight local bodies fund the regional agency Tourism Auckland, and to a level a little more than half of that enjoyed by its Wellington counterpart.

Tourism Research Institute director Simon Milne says a single council might better co-ordinate promotion and improve its facilities and environment.

In late 2007, businessman David McConnell headed Bringing The World to Auckland a report on how to reap more benefits from tourism.

It recommended a $5 million annual marketing fund, though the fund is currently around $3 million.

Mr McConnell says a hotel tax could generate a tourism development fund that industry could help run.