The Tourism Minister has announced funding details for a new round of investment to promote and coordinate regional tourism.
Stuart Nash has confirmed the allocation of funds to 31 Regional Tourism Organisations, (RTOs) from $26 million earmarked in the Tourism Communities Plan in May.
“Domestic tourism is experiencing a boom as Kiwis take the opportunity to ‘do something new’ and see more of their own backyard,” Stuart 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.
“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.
“RTOs work alongside industry reps, community groups, iwi, councils and others on destination management plans for how they propose to work together. Their proposals have now been signed off and funding can be allocated.
“The 31 RTOs have secured government investment ranging from $400,000 to $1.5 million in grants from the Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Reset Plan announced in May.
“This is a significant investment. It allows the RTOs 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.
“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.
“Whether the RTOs are in smaller population centres like Clutha or Hurunui, or large urban areas like Auckland or Rotorua, they are also working to strengthen the foundations of their visitor economies for when international visitors return,” Stuart Nash said.
To be eligible for investment, RTOs need a commitment of funding from local government, among other criteria. Funding is allocated according to the size of the RTO, with each RTO falling into a tier: small, medium, medium-large or large. In addition to the funding for the 31 RTOs, the umbrella body Regional Tourism New Zealand will receive $200,000 to provide support and help build capability within RTOs across New Zealand.