Tourism sector gets cash injection

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Trampers on a section of the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track.

UP to $20.2 million has been made available for 31 Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) as part of the Government’s Tourism Sector Recovery Plan.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced last week the plan included 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 RTOs.

The Government was investing in RTOs because they played an important role in supporting tourism, Mr Davis said.

“The restart, recovery and rebuilding of the sector will depend on capable and well-resourced regional organisations to lead and co-ordinate activities alongside the industry, stakeholders, Maori and communities.”

Southland’s Regional Tourism Organisation and Regional Development Agency Great South will be among those to receive the funding.

Chief executive Graham Budd said the injection of funding was a much-needed boost for the Southland tourism industry.

“Covid-19 has presented a challenging and unprecedented situation for our tourism industry and this one-off allocation to support its restart, and ongoing viability, reflects this.”

The Tourism Recovery Fund included the development of a national domestic marketing campaign, which will support Great South in building on its promotional work to create a compelling offer for people to travel south.

“With the New Zealand border closed and months of restrictions on travel throughout New Zealand, the best thing we can do for our local operators and tourism industry representatives is connect them with customers and this funding package will support us in connecting with locals, regional and domestic markets and encouraging them to spend in the south.”

Great South tourism and events general manager Bobbi Brown said the Government’s investment was a boost of confidence in the role RTOs played and meant greater support for local communities and tourism operators.

“The announcement will give Southland’s tourism sector, and its range of wonderful activities, attractions and operators confidence in the reimagination of the whole sector and will help us to play a pivotal role in the region’s economic restart.”

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