Regional tourism leaders have welcomed the government’s investment in developing new products and expect more to come from the $1bn Provincial Growth Fund in further rounds.
Northland, Gisborne and West Coast tourism are among the first to benefit from the initial deployment of nearly $62m from the PGF announced on Friday, of which around $12m would go towards the industry.
Adam Hughes general manager of Activate Tairāwhiti, the promotion and economic development agency for the Gisborne region, said he was particularly pleased with $1m funding for 2019’s first encounter commemorations, Tuia – Encounters 250.
“We are really impressed that central government has come to the party and appreciated how big an opportunity [next year’s commemorations] will be for the country and the region,” said Hughes.
The $60,000 funding to help develop the Mount Hikurangi tourism experience, Chardonnay Express and Waka Hourua Tairāwhiti was also important for the region.
“We see product development as our key lever because we just don’t have enough trade ready, commissionable product ready to partner effectively through marketing and trade,” said Hughes.
He expected further funding in later rounds of the $1bn PGF because tourism played an important role in the wider economic development action plan for the region.
Tourism investments in Northland included $4.6m towards a new cultural tourism experience in Opononi – the Manea Footprints of Kupe Cultural Heritage and Education Centre – $2.3m to build a tourism hub in Kawakawa, and $1m for the Hihiaua Cultural Centre in Whangarei.
Northland Inc’s general manager of regional promotions and tourism, Paul Davis, said the new funding was great news for the region.
“Manea has been worked on for a number of years now so it is great to be able to see some funding that will allow it to go ahead. We’re particularly pleased about that because it will help change visitor flows and encourage people to visit the Hokianga on the West Coast of Northland,” said Davis.
The tourism hub at Kawakawa was an important strategic location for the region, sitting at the highway fork between the Bay of Islands and State Highway 1 further north.
“And the Hihiaua Cultural Centre in Whangarei will be an exciting addition to the infrastructure in Whangarei, which will hold the visitors here for longer,” said Davis.
Funding for tourism on the South Island’s West Coast included $1m for further development of two Great Rides: the West Coast Wilderness Trail and the Old Ghost Rd Trail.
Tourism West Coast’s chief executive, Jim Little, said both trails had been bringing a lot of domestic visitors to the West Coast.
Funding of $100,000 to develop a master plan for Punakaiki was also much-needed, said Little.
“It’s the second most visited natural attraction in New Zealand after Huka Falls with around half-a-million people per year. Car parking, toilets, expanding the service areas need work. Also, in Punakaiki township itself, a lot of work needs to be done on sea walls and other infrastructure.”
Tourism projects that have received funding from the $1bn Provincial Growth Fund:
- $4.6m towards a new cultural tourism experience in Opononi – the Manea Footprints of Kupe Cultural Heritage and Education Centre
- $2.3m to build a tourism hub in Kawakawa
- $1m towards the Hihiaua Cultural Centre in Whangarei
- $2.3m to redevelop the Gisborne Inner Harbour
- $1m funding for 2019’s first encounter commemorations, Tuia – Encounters 250
- $60,000 funding to help develop the Mount Hikurangi tourism experience, Chardonnay Express and Waka Hourua Tairāwhiti
- $500,000 to complete the final section from Hokitika to Ross of the West Coast Wilderness Trail
- $500,000 available to the Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust for expanding accommodation capacity and improving facilities along the Old Ghost Road trail
- $100,000 to develop a master plan for Punakaiki