Three core networks within the tourism sector are receiving new investment to gear up for the return of international tourists and business travellers, as the country fully reconnects to the world.
“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,” said Stuart Nash.
“The chain of more than 60 i-SITE visitor centres will receive new funding; along with the tourism trade show TRENZ; and Regional Tourism New Zealand, the umbrella body for 31 regional tourism organisations.
“We will be fully open to the world in mid-winter once new visitor visas are issued from 31 July. Visitors from our largest market Australia began to return in mid-April, and those from key visa-waiver nations in the Northern Hemisphere have been arriving since 2 May.
“New government investment of $2.975 million in the i-SITE network will be used to upgrade some sites, enhance online services, and drive better 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.
“Further investment of $1.55 million in the tourism trade show TRENZ will ensure we remain high on the radar of international travel agents and buyers, and delivers on our strategy to protect economic security for workers and businesses.
“The funding for TRENZ 2023 and the online platform TRENZ Connect, managed by Tourism Industry Aotearoa on behalf of the Tourism Industry NZ Trust, helps secure the future of the annual business-to-business international travel and trade 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.
“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.
“The total package of support to tourism networks is worth $5.125 million, and is funded from the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL). The $35 levy on most international passengers goes directly to fund our tourism and conservation infrastructure.
“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.
“I am also looking forward to personally welcoming new visitors from Australia on Monday 23 May as the first direct international flight for 330 days touches down in Queenstown. The Qantas flight from Sydney means Queenstown officially becomes our fourth international airport, just in time for the winter ski season,” said Stuart Nash.
The International Visitor Levy Fund supports strategic investment in visitor infrastructure and conservation to ensure that tourism growth is sustainable and gives back more than it takes from visitor destinations.