Government spends $24.2 on tourism support

Discover Waitomo, a caving operator, will be the first tourism outfit to receive Government support. Christine Cornege/Stuff.

An iconic New Zealand tourism attraction and Regional Tourism Organisations are the first recipients of support from the $400 million Tourism Sector Recovery Plan.

The plan includes a Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme which will provide up to $4 million to Discover Waitomo and up to $20.2 million for New Zealand’s 31 Regional Tourism Organisations.

This investment comes following the Tourism Recovery Ministers Group meeting to determine eligibility criteria and make urgent support decisions.

Discover Waitomo to be safeguarded

“We are working closely with the tourism industry to help cushion the blow from COVID-19, support businesses and workers, and position the tourism sector for recovery,” says Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis.

“Discover Waitomo is a world-renowned iconic tourism attraction that generates significant economic, cultural and employment benefits for the region.

“Without this support, it may not have been possible to preserve this key asset, so it was important to act fast. This investment will help safeguard and enable Discover Waitomo to retain a highly skilled workforce with specific skills and experience.”

Davis says where there is urgent need to fast track applications the Tourism Recovery Ministers will assess the urgency and make a decision.

“This has occurred with Discover Waitomo and other businesses we’re currently in discussions with. We don’t want bureaucracy to get in the way of supporting businesses that need it. That’s why we’re able to announce funding for Discover Waitomo today, and we will make further announcements soon.”

Support for New Zealand’s 31 RTOs

Up to $20.2 million has also been made available for the country’s 31 Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) to enable them to implement destination management and planning, along with other projects to support their regional tourism industry.

”The industry has been asking for this throughout my discussions with them. We’re investing in RTOs because they play an important role in supporting tourism. The restart, recovery and rebuilding of the sector will depend on capable and well-resourced regional organisations to lead and coordinate activities alongside the industry, stakeholders, Māori and communities,” says Davis.

Tourism Futures Taskforce co-chairs announced

The Tourism Sector Recovery Plan also includes a public-private taskforce that will continue the work started by Tourism New Zealand to reimagine the future of tourism.

“I am pleased to announce that the New Zealand Tourism Futures Taskforce will be led by co-chairs Mayor Steve Chadwick and Grant Webster as they both have a deep understanding of the sector.

“Their leadership, skills and experience will be vital to ensuring we can rebuild a sector that’s more economically, environmentally and culturally sustainable, so that it delivers on its promises to Kiwis and visitors alike.

Criteria for the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme

“This is just the beginning of the announcements, and now that the criteria has been released, we expect there to be even more requests for help.

“I’d like to thank the tourism industry for their constructive input and advice during this very difficult time, in particular the information they have provided to help shape this recovery package,” says Davis.

Applications for the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme are open now and close on Thursday, June 18.

Tourism operators should visit the Tourism Recovery page of the MBIE website for details about the eligibility criteria of the programme, and how to apply.

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