Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Events Fund

Expressions of Interest for the 2021 Funding Application round of the Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Events Fund are now closed.

In September 2020, as a result of COVID-19 the New Zealand Government announced a $50 million Regional Events Fund. 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. Please visit www.mbie.govt.nz for more background on the Regional Events Fund.

The Thermal Explorer Highway includes the Waikato, Rotorua, Taupō and Ruapehu regions. Our purpose for the Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Events Fund is a contestable fund that 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; and to support capability development of the event ecosystem in the regions of the Thermal Explorer area.

Expressions of Interest closed 5pm, Friday 12 March 2021 with the following highlights:

  • We received 82 Expressions of Interest
  • Total funding requested is over $16 million
  • Estimated total event attendees around 827,000; estimated total out of region visitors around 434,000; or approximately 52% of total estimated event attendees from out of the region.
  • Half of the applications are for NEW events
Important links and information
Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Investment Plan

For more information including an overview of the Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Investment Plan

Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund – Funding Application Guidelines 2021

Expressions of Interest for the 2021 Funding Application round have now closed. The Funding Application Guidelines 2021 and Frequently Asked Questions are still available to download if required.

Timeline and next steps
5pm, Friday 12 March 2021 Expressions of Interest (EOI) close
By End-March 2021 Expression of Interest (EOI) applications shortlisted
12 – 14 April 2021

Shortlisted applicants present to the Panel

  • Location: Cambridge
May 2021 Events contracted
From July 2021 Events commence
For more information

Lead Entity for the Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Events Fund (REF):
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism
Email: ThermExREF@waikatonz.com


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