A chain of events that has been called ‘perfect timing’ has culminated in former New Zealand finance minister Bill English landing the country’s top job, in the wake of John Key’s resignation, but what does it mean for tourism?
In an article published in the Financial Review (AFR) on December 8, four days before the race had clearly been won, then minister English spoke positively about the country’s economy, making special mention of the role of tourism in the country’s gains.
Luke Malpass wrote that “Mr English’s claim to the job was bolstered by the release of the New Zealand Treasury’s Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update, which showed New Zealand growing more quickly than expected”.
The erstwhile finance minister was glowing with positivity for the country, and its ecomony, with special mention of tourism.
“Economic growth is expected to average around 3 per cent over the next five years – considerably stronger than forecast in Budget 2016 – supporting more jobs, falling unemployment and higher incomes,” Mr English said.
“The more positive outlook for the economy is driven by high levels of construction activity, exports (particularly tourism), a growing population and low interest rates.”
Bay of Islands Funding
Named as his deputy prime minister is former associate tourism minister, Paula Bennett, who, along with economic minister Steven Joyce announced last week that $158,000 is being committed to a visitor economy project as part of the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Action Plan. The Plan has a key action to develop a collaborative regional tourism framework that supports growing the visitor economy to $2.5 billion by 2030.
The funding will be used to develop a regional strategic plan and four sub-regional strategies for Tauranga/ Western Bay, Rotorua, Taupo and Opotiki/ Whakatane/ Kawerau. The project will also include economic analysis and will identify regional priorities for future investment.
“The Bay of Plenty has some of New Zealand’s most well established tourist destinations, with a diverse range of offerings for both domestic and international visitors. Tourism has the potential to grow significantly across the region,” Mrs Bennett said.
“The project also contributes to the overnment’s broader tourism strategy, one of the aims of which is to ensure that all regions benefit from tourism growth and that our international visitors are encouraged to explore not only our most iconic tourism destinations but also lesser known parts of New Zealand.”
The contract for this work was awarded to TRC Tourism, supported by Freshinfo, following a competitive tender process. Both organisations have extensive experience in the tourism strategy and development space.
The project will start in December 2016 and is expected to be completed by mid-2017.