Tourism funding boost includes visitor centres

Photo: Tourism New Zealand
Photo: Tourism New Zealand
The country's i-SITE visitor centres will receive a funding boost as borders reopen and they gear up for more international tourist and business traveller arrivals.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash announced the $5.125 million package today which would also support tourism trade show TRENZ and Regional Tourism New Zealand - the umbrella body for 31 regional tourism organisations.

It is funded from the $35 International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy most international passengers pay.

"Our wider tourism sector is on the way to recovery. As visitor numbers scale up, our established tourism networks will receive new government support to maximise the opportunities for businesses, workers, and local communities," Nash said.

Close to $3m would go towards upgrading some i-SITEs, enhancing online services, and improving engagement with local history, culture and heritage attractions.

"The iconic i-SITE network with its distinctive green lettering was first established more than 30 years ago. Each visitor centre is locally owned and operated by travel experts in its community, giving them a unique home-grown flavour.

"Even in an increasingly digital world of travel bookings and itineraries, these official visitor centres are a core element of tourism infrastructure.

"They reinforce our international reputation for being good hosts and offering a friendly local welcome."

A further $1.55m would go towards TRENZ to ensure Aotearoa remained high on the radar of international travel agents and buyers, he said.

He hoped the funding for TRENZ 2023 and online platform TRENZ Connect would help to secure the future of the annual event.

"We're also supporting Regional Tourism New Zealand with $600,000 over two years to ensure the regions have strategically-focused destination management plans in place," Nash said.

"This investment allows them to continue to support 31 Regional Tourism Organisations to develop and implement destination management plans, and follows $47 million investment in RTOs during the past two years."

New visitor visas would be issued from the end of July as the country reopened to the world.

"The resumption of international travel and new government trade missions overseas sends one message to the world: that New Zealand is open for tourism and business travel."

Nash said he would personally welcome new visitors touching down in Queenstown from Australia on Monday.

It marked the first direct international flight to the resort town in 330 days.

"The Qantas flight from Sydney means Queenstown officially becomes our fourth international airport, just in time for the winter ski season."

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