COVID-19 - Strategic Tourism Assets Funding Applications Now Open

Minister for Tourism Kelvin Davis has today released criteria for the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP) to secure the future of nationally and regionally significant visitor attractions.

One of Waikato’s iconic visitor attractions, Discover Waitomo, was one of the first recipients of STAPP funding and has received a $4 million lifeline by the Government to safeguard its future and retain its skilled workforce.

The Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP) is intended to protect the assets in the tourism industry that form the core of our essential tourism offerings to ensure survival through the disruption caused by COVID-19. The programme will also consider assets that are culturally, environmentally and/or historically significant.


As a tourism operator, you must be able to meet ALL THREE eligibility criteria listed below:

1. Are you a tourism asset?
Tourism Operations: a tourism business is one where at least 25 percent of the operations’ output is purchased by tourists, or the operations output includes a tourism-characteristic product.
Tourism Assets: you must meet one of the following types of assets:

    • Attractions – visitors need things to do and see - For STAPP this includes activities and natural attractions
    • Access – visitors need to be able to get to where they want to visit safely. For STAPP the tourism asset covers the means of access (note assets eligible under Ministry of Transport funding are not eligible for STAPP)
    • Amenities – services and facilities.

Intangible assets (for example intellectual property) can be considered eligible if they fit into the three asset categories

2. Are you an asset of strategic significance (national or region, cultural, environmental and/or historic)?
An asset is likely to be considered strategic and eligible for the STAPP if it:

    • Is a nationally and/or internationally recognised, AND
    • Is a key attraction for New Zealand or a region of New Zealand, AND
    • Is responsible for significant visitation to the region where it is located and in its absence, visitation to the region would be significantly diminished, AND
    • Generates significant spill over benefits to the region where it is located. Spill over benefits to the community (regional or New Zealand) means that the benefits of the tourism asset are shared with other businesses (including non-tourism businesses).

3. Have you exhausted all other areas of support (Govt broad-based and private)?
Applicants must be able to demonstrate that there is both a need for support to safeguard the asset and you have exhausted alternative options for support.

    • Are there insurmountable costs/challenges to pausing and resuming operations?
    • Are you reliant to a high degree on revenue from visitor flows that are currently severely reduced?
    • Are you facing severe financial stress, for example unable to meet the minimum costs necessary to survive/hibernate until demand recovers and/or re-pivot their offering to the domestic market? E.g. have other sources of cash flow, working capital been exhausted?
  • Those assets that do not meet all three eligibility criteria.
  • Tourism assets that can be readily repurposed.
  • Those eligible for support via other sector-specific COVID-19 recovery packages (such as the transport and aviation support package).
  • New capital developments or upgrades.
  • Generic features of the tourism system, such as food and beverage, accommodation, transport and retail. Exceptions could include assets that are iconic, of notable cultural, environmental and/or heritage status, and/or feature prominently within the conservation landscape, and/or are uniquely critical elements of the tourism supply chain.

Please note that eligibility does not guarantee support. A full assessment of all eligible applications will be carried out and final decisions will be made by the Tourism Recovery Ministers Group.


Applications are now open and will close at 5pm, Thursday 18th June 2020.

How to apply:
Visit the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s website to find out more and access the Application form:


We also welcomed today’s announcement by Minister Davis that funding up to $20.2 million will be made available to the 31 Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) across New Zealand, including Hamilton & Waikato Tourism.

Following a similar process for the STAPP funding, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism must now apply for funding via an investment proposal. We can apply for up to $700,000 for the 2020/2021 financial year and detail how we will advance the goals of the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy to create a more sustainable, productive and inclusive tourism sector for the Waikato region, including adopting a destination management approach.

We must also show any additional domestic marketing activity which complements Tourism New Zealand’s national domestic marketing campaign, as well as retain current local government investment (National Government funding is not a substitution for local government funding).

We can be proud as a region that we began the destination management journey back in 2016 when we adopted the Tourism Opportunities Plan. Five regional game-changers were identified, including product and experience development opportunities and industry capability and development, so hopefully we will be successful with our funding application to fast-track a Destination Management Plan for Waikato.

This page was last updated on 09 June at 5.30pm