New Zealand’s Minister of Tourism, Paula Bennett, has announced a massive injection of funding from the Government, as part of an upcoming Budget.
The funding package will provide $178 million in tourism infrastructure over the next four years.
This, Bennett explained, includes $76 million that will be contributed to the Department of Conservation, a major focus for all of New Zealand’s tourism.
“That funding will be going into exciting initiatives that are all about our visitors, where they’re going and what they’re doing,” Bennett told the audience at TRENZ in Auckland, the first to hear the news.
“This will support not just the industry but all of New Zealand, and I think it’s going to go a long way and it should be celebrated.
“This is a $100 million package for infrastructure that in the past has been the sole responsibility of the Government.
“It will also support the Councils where tourism growth is putting pressures on their infrastructure and restraining future growth.
“It’s also going to help with quality visits in the future.”
Bennett told the media at TRENZ the funding would replace the mid-sized Facilities fund and also replace the Tourism Growth partnership.
“It reflects that priorities have changed with the number of visitors here,” she added. “Priorities have changed, and now infrastructure is the thing that needs the most money.”
This funding won’t cover things like airport upgrades and essential council infrastructure not driven by tourism, Bennett explained, adding the priority will be supporting councils with “higher visitors rates”, not ones with lower rates or the funds to develop themselves.
Queenstown, a favourite for Aussie travellers, is one of the key destinations set to benefit from this new funding.
“Queenstown is a place that stands out and is likely to be eligible,” Bennett announced, citing the enormous visitor rate pumping through the region, in comparison with local residents.
Investment in Queenstown, per Bennett, will look at a range of things, including major events, roads and transport, and broadband.
Bennett was also quick to stress these projects won’t “include a levy on visitors” but will be coming from the Budget.
Adding to Minister Bennett’s announcement, Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry commented on the $76 million of funding set to benefit DOCs.
“19.8 million will be used to accommodate growth at some of DOC’s busiest sites,” she said.
“One of the goals with the Government is to have all regions benefiting.
“We want to encourage people to go down the paths less travelled.”
Barry added $11.4 million of the funding would also go to improving DOC’s computer services, claiming “we need to make sure our technology is more customer focused”.