Talking business with Anthony Haas

Funds available for local tourism

Alastair ScottWellington Masters Cycling

Tourism infrastructure whose move?

Tourism organisations and voters in the Wairarapa may be pleasantly surprised at New Zealand political parties’ willingness to fund tourism. The 2017 election campaign and budget has several headings that the local tourism leadership might study. For example the government has announced the infrastructure fund has $102 million dollars available for approved projects over four years. Have local authorities had discussions with political parties and government about lining up for funding for projects?

National Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott says the Hawkes’ Bay cycleway shows what can be done. Tourism Minister Paula Bennett said in addition to the new Tourism Infrastructure Fund there is a further $78m for the Department of Conservation to upgrade tourist facilities. Labour Mana MP and spokesperson for tourism Kris Faafoi stated “It’s time for the government to help ensure we deliver a world-class experience to tourists, without unfairly burdening local communities”. Labour released it’s policy and will establish a $75m a year Tourism and Conservation Infrastructure Fund to pay for projects that will improve the experience of visitors to New Zealand and enhance our natural environment, funded by a $25 per visit levy on international visitors.

Which Wairarapa agencies are already targeting such resources, or will be motivated to do so?

Central government is also willing to invest

For example they have been willing to invest in marketing initiatives in Australia such as this

“Australians motivated to pedal their way to a Kiwi adventure”

Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager for Australia, Tony Saunders, says 2017 builds on a successful cycling-led campaign last year to increase awareness of the unique experience a New Zealand cycling holiday offers. Hawke’s Bay trails were funded.

Locals may also find that the headings don’t produce budgets that meet local needs. Is government likely to fund enhanced accommodation? Could this tourism vote help fund better train transport?

Who needs investment?

One of our readers recently visited Stonehenge Aotearoa (see http://www.stonehenge-aotearoa.co.nz/). The operation looked as if it could do with some capital, and its owners looked as if they would benefit from more visitors.

Is this an example of a tourism facility calling out for the type of investment government, political parties and local tourism organisations could support more? Are there food enterprises that could benefit from closer links to tourism?

Overwhelmed?

Lawrence Yule with considerable experience at the helm of local government New Zealand, and National party candidate, says infrastructure has been identified by the industry and local government as a major issue to ensure New Zealand remains an excellent destination and communities are not overwhelmed.

Government has shown it is willing to fund medium-sized projects such as toilets and parking, in councils with a low ratepayer base.

Local government New Zealand’s members have identified many projects for which they would like government funds. Have Wairarapa representatives spoken up emphatically enough to be included? Could it be that the tourism budget could help the Wairarapa think big?

ahaas@decisionmaker.co.nz

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