Tourism Industry Aotearoa is encouraging communities to apply for a new Government tourism infrastructure fund.
Applications for the new Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Grant Fund open today, with $3 million available this year.
TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts has been part of a Working Group that was consulted in setting up the application process and funding criteria for these grants. He expects strong interest from around the country in accessing the fund.
“The tourism industry is experiencing unprecedented growth levels and delivering enormous benefits. But we know that some regions, especially those with small rating bases, face funding issues in responding to a sudden jump in visitor numbers,” Mr Roberts says.
“This Government fund can enable the most urgent and deserving investments to be made more quickly, so that regions and communities can properly cater for their visitors and enjoy the benefits of tourism.
“If presented with enough sensible investments that provide a long term return for New Zealand, there will be good reasons for the Government to look at adding to the initial funding.”
Mr Roberts says the industry’s updated growth framework – Tourism 2025 – Two Years On – gives increased attention to capacity and infrastructure development, to ensure New Zealand has the facilities needed for sustainable tourism growth.
“If tourism is to achieve its aspirational goal of $41 billion in annual revenue by 2025, it’s vital the industry, central and local government are making well informed decisions to invest in new tourism infrastructure.”
TIA is leading a project to make sure New Zealand gets the right infrastructure in the right places to support tourism growth.
“It’s not just about public toilets, hotels and tourism attractions – it’s also about identifying and understanding the shared infrastructure that may limit tourism growth, whether it be water services, roading, cruise ship facilities, or tramping tracks and huts. Equally important, it’s also about where these infrastructure issues exist – many places have lots of capacity so we want to focus the study on those places that have issues of shortage.
“We will also identify barriers to new infrastructure development and recommend solutions. This new Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Fund is a small but useful contribution.”
The first findings of TIA’s Tourism Infrastructure Assessment will be presented at TIA’s Tourism Summit Aotearoa in Wellington on 9 November 2016.