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22 June 21: First round of Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund confirmed

A total of 15 events from the Waikato, Rotorua, Taupō and Ruapehu regions will receive $1.6 million funding from the Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund.

The selected events are a mixture of new and existing and include business, sport, culture and exhibitions, and will be hosted across the four regions of Waikato, Rotorua, Taupō and Ruapehu. In total, the events are predicted to attract over 120,000 attendees, with two-thirds being visitors from outside the host region. Some events have three-year funding agreements, others received one-year investment to boost their development.

Nicola Greenwell, Lead Entity for the Thermal Explorer Event Investment Panel at Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, said the eight-member Panel were pleased to allocate the first round of event funding.

“The Panel has representatives from the four regions and spent many hours on evaluations, assessments, due diligence, discussions and have made some tough decisions. We are excited for the opportunity that the funding presents to support a range of events being delivered over the next four years in our regions, attracting out-of-region visitation, encouraging economic benefit and boosting capability to the event sector” said Greenwell.

“The Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund Panel received 82 Expressions of Interest – with half of the applications for new events and over $16 million applied for. Of these 82 applications, 22 were shortlisted for phase two which involved individual presentations to the Panel” she added.

The $3.75m Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund is part of the $50 million Regional Events Fund announced by the New Zealand Government in September 2020 as a result of COVID-19. The purpose of the fund is to stimulate domestic tourism and travel between regions through hosting of events, which is intended to replace expenditure from international tourists. The contestable fund will be utilised to focus on developing, securing or enhancing new and existing events to become long term sustainable “iconic” or “anchor” events for the regions, plus support capability development of the event ecosystem in the four regions of the Thermal Explorer area.

Applications for round two of the contestable fund will open in February 2022.

For more information on the Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund and to view the full list of successful round one funding recipients, please visit www.waikatonz.com/thermexref.

Event organisers are also encouraged to register on our website to receive notification of the next funding round and capability building opportunities.