Industry groups and councils have welcomed New Zealand Minister of Tourism, Kelvin Davis’ announcement of allocation from the nation’s Regional Events Fund.
Regional Tourism New Zealand Chair, David Perks welcomed yesterday’s funding, stating “the allocation of almost $50 million through every region of New Zealand will provide much needed stimulus to the events sector and tourism business across the country. The investment will support that made by event owners and local government in delivering events that stimulate visitation and add to the vibrancy of communities.
“Regional Tourism Organisations understand that events are a critical way of getting New Zealanders travelling and that the development of new events means there is every opportunity to give all New Zealanders a reason to travel to a different part of the country.”
With the Coronavirus crisis having seen local government, as the primary investors and provider of infrastructure for events, come under significant pressure on their resources, Perks said the funding will support the continuing commitment councils make to facilitating the positive economic impact of events in their areas.
Originally announced in July as a $10 million fund, yesterday’s announcement saw $50 million going to nine major regional groups to support domestic tourism through events.
Conventions & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Chief Executive, Lisa Hopkins says the industry is pleased to see more support going into the events sector.
Hopkins advised “it is good to see the sector has been recognised as an important driver of the domestic visitor industry, and business events have been acknowledged as a high-value contributor to regional visitation.
“This longer-term investment in events will support the rebuilding of the visitor economy and provide valuable assistance for the people who work within it.
“The fund will be a major boost for existing events, as well as the chance to develop new ones, building capability across the country. It gives the industry some funding opportunity across the next two to four years and will be especially helpful for 2021 and beyond.”
Among recipients, Auckland and Northland will receive $19 million injection to support major events in the two regions.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the news was a welcome shot in the arm for the events sector, stating “while the closure of our borders was essential to tackle the COVID-19 health crisis, it has cost Auckland’s visitor economy and events sector probably hundreds of millions in lost revenue, putting pressure on jobs and businesses.
“This new funding from the government will make a real difference for the sector, boost economic recovery, and help to bring back some of the vibrancy and excitement we’ve all missed over the last six months due to the necessary virus restrictions.”
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) Chief Executive Nick Hill said the news will serve to re-enforce the role of events in the economic recovery for both regions.
Hill stated “this is fantastic news. And the partnership with Northland is fitting as we already have a strong working relationship, anchored in an existing Memorandum of Understanding agreement that reflects our shared goals of supporting both regions’ visitor economies.
“We continue to work on a range of joint projects, including the delivery of Rugby World Cup 2021 as well as domestic marketing and international students’ activities. We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with Northland.”
With ATEED’s events portfolio in the coming months including the delivery of a regional Auckland Diwali Festival, Elemental AKL and the 36th America’s Cup, Hill added “Auckland’s 2020 events portfolio was estimated to generate nearly $38 million for the region’s economy but to date, we estimate to lose $23 million as a result of cancelled events.”
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult expressed delight at an $8.5 million grant from the Fund that will be used to support the staging of events in Wanaka, Queenstown, Central Otago and Fiordland, which were considered together as the Southern Lakes alliance.
Mayor Boult says the work of the Mayoral Taskforce for Tourism and Short-term Recovery identified events as the most effective way to encourage New Zealanders to visit the region more regularly.
He commented “the QLDC team and I have invested a considerable amount of time and energy into lobbying for the creation of a fund such as this, and to say that I’m happy would be a massive understatement.
“Whether it’s sporting events, art exhibitions, celebrations of culture and heritage, weddings, music or dance, an event in this part of the country is made extra special not only by our stunning natural landscape, but by our people who are some of the most skilled hosts and event organisers you’ll find anywhere.
“That the government recognised the value of events in supporting an economy such as ours is fantastic. Equally, that the Minister saw fit to award $8.5 million of the fund to the Southern Lakes is truly a show of confidence in the ability of our region to recover and once again become a major contributor to GDP.”
The Regional Events Fund is part of the New Zealand Government’s larger Tourism Recovery Package and was created to help drive domestic tourism in key areas throughout the country.
Click here for more information about the Fund and Tourism Recovery Package.
Images: Queenstown by night (top) and Wanaka's Rhythm and Alps Festival (below).
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