The government has given a green light to invest $3.75 million in a North Island tourism alliance aimed at developing events for visitors.
Waikato, Rotorua, Lake Taupō and Ruapehu regional tourism organisations have been working together under the Thermal Explorer Highway banner.
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said it was the first investment to be confirmed from the $50 million Regional Events Fund which was part of the government’s tourism recovery package.
“The route has stunning visitor attractions such as glow worm caves, geysers, museums and cultural attractions, surf breaks, bike trails, jet boat rides, gardens and zoos. But it also connects tourists to seasonal events throughout the year,” Nash said.
“The funding confirmed today will help develop events through planning and promotion. Events will reflect common themes across the districts, including water-related sports and action events; music, cultural and heritage events; and food and beverage events.
“These events will help to accelerate the economic recovery in these regions and support local jobs and businesses.”
The Thermal Explorer Highway alliance could use the funds to invest in existing events, create news ones or build the capability of event planners, he said.
“The Regional Events Fund was set up to help the tourism sector adjust to the loss of international tourists due to the impact of Covid. The fund is designed to give domestic tourism a boost over the medium term, and regions expect to use it for a variety of exciting events from autumn next year,” he said.
“Regions will decide how to spend the funds themselves and will work collaboratively to encourage travel to a wide range of sport, arts and cultural events, without competing against neighbouring regions.”
Further Regional Events Fund announcements are expected early in the new year.