Tourism Industry Aotearoa is encouraging councils and community organisations to apply for new government funding to help them maximise the benefits of tourism for their communities.
TIA is also urging tourism operators to work with their local councils to make sure the right projects are put forward.
The new Tourism Infrastructure Fund is offering $25 million a year to help communities provide new tourism-related public infrastructure like carparks, toilets, sewerage and water facilities. The first round of funding, which opened today, is targeting communities with small ratepayer bases but growing visitor numbers.
TIA chief executive Chris Roberts is a member of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund Panel which will make recommendations on the applications to tourism minister Paula Bennett.
“TIA’s National Tourism Infrastructure Assessment, which was released in April, showed there was a strong need for investment in infrastructure to help New Zealand’s economy optimise the benefits of the tourism boom,” Mr Roberts said.
“Local and mixed use infrastructure – usually provided by councils and used by both locals and visitors – was identified in the National Tourism Infrastructure Assessment as needing coordinated attention from the public and private sectors. The TIF is the Government’s response.”
A high number of quality applications from councils and communities for funding from the TIF will demonstrate the level of need and support a case for the size of the fund to be expanded in future, Mr Roberts said.
“Tourism operators and regional tourism organisations or economic development agencies need to be talking to their local councils about which projects should be submitted. They need to deliver real tourism benefits, while avoiding competing with existing commercial activities.
“The projects supported by the TIF will help communities achieve their tourism potential, with all the benefits that will bring for local residents, visitors and the Government through increased visitor spending.”