Media Releases

Govt support to boost Southland tourism

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 10:12
Economic Development

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Associate Tourism Minister Paula Bennett today announced a $510,000 package to help strengthen Southland’s tourism industry and attract more visitors to the region.

Tourism is a focus of the Southland Regional Development Strategy Action Plan, which aims to diversify Southland’s economy, grow the population and strengthen local business.

“The tourism industry is experiencing exceptional growth across New Zealand. However, in Southland visitor spending grew 3.3 per cent in the year to September 2016 – a lower growth rate than that seen in most other parts of the country,” Mr Joyce says.

“With some excellent existing tourism offerings, such as those around Fiordland and Milford Sound, Southland is focused on strengthening what it already has and finding new ways to attract high-value visitors to other parts of the region as well.”

Government funding announced today includes:

  • $250,000 to support the Milford Opportunities Project
  • $80,000 towards a feasibility study for Bluff Oyster World
  • $130,000 towards development of the Southland Destination Strategy
  • $50,000 towards market insights research, and development of the Southland Story.

The Milford Opportunities Project involves key players in the local tourism industry including businesses, Southland District Council, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, the New Zealand Transport Agency and the Department of Conservation, Mr Joyce says.

“The project has been set up to manage growing tourist numbers in Milford, aiming to maintain a quality experience for visitors while also increasing revenue. Current work underway includes assessment of infrastructure needs, development estimates for parking and accommodation projects, and preparation of an investor prospectus,” Mrs Bennett says.

“Working with the Awarua rūnanga, the Government is assessing the feasibility of a possible attraction to leverage off Bluff’s most famous delicacy. The Bluff Oyster World feasibility study will build the concept in detail.”

“Destination strategies have worked well for other regional tourism industries. Southland’s Destination Strategy will position and define the region as a tourist destination and drive a cohesive marketing approach. It will also identify tourism products required to meet visitor demand and include analysis of the infrastructure required to support the industry,” Mr Joyce says.

“The destination strategy will be aligned with the Southland Story. Like the New Zealand Story, this will be a brand framework and set of resources, informed by market research, that will help drive attraction of visitors, migrants and students to the region.”

The Southland Regional Development Strategy Action Plan has been developed by the region with central government support. It forms part of the Government’s Regional Growth Programme, which looks to increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand. Individual actions in the plan are led by various different agencies.

More information is available here.