Applications are open for up to $5.5 million in extra funding to help regional communities respond to visitor growth through new tourism infrastructure, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett announced today.
An additional funding round for the Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Grant Fund has been made available in response to the high quality and number of applications received in round one.
“This initiative was very popular, with forty applications received in the first round of funding, of which 26 were eligible,” says Mrs Bennett.
“With the initial $3 million available we approved 14 projects, like new toilets at Lake Tekapo and parking at Taranaki’s Rotokare Scenic Reserve. As well as our international guests, the new facilities also benefit local residents and domestic tourists.
“The first funding round tested demand for infrastructure support and we’ve responded accordingly. All original eligible applications will be reconsidered, as well as new applications that meet assessment criteria.
“The fund prioritises projects in councils with a low ratepayer base and will assess co-funding on ability to contribute, rather than total size of the contribution. Facilities like these are normally the sole responsibility of the local council but we have recognised the challenges that have come with growth in tourist numbers and are assisting where appropriate.
“With tourism now a $14.5 billion export earner, and 188,000 people working in the industry, these visitors are incredibly important to our economy, particularly in the regions.”
Budget 2016 allocated $12 million over four years for the fund. This $5.5 million additional funding is re-prioritised from underspend in the Tourism Growth Partnership fund. Funding for this financial year was fully allocated to 14 projects in the last round held in 2016.
Applications for the second round of the Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Grant Fund close on 12 April 2017. For more information visit http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/regional-mid-sized-tourism-facilities-grant-fund.