Serious business of bogs and bins

Puala Bennet

COLUMN

Over the past several years tourism has been a real success story for New Zealand.

We all know tourism is great — for our regional economies, for jobs, for all sorts of businesses. It’s our biggest export earner, and in Gisborne alone visitors spent around $134 million in the year to January.

In most places we have excellent visitor facilities, but there’s no doubt we need more to support growth in the sector. Every area needs something different – whether that’s bogs or bins, carparks or campgrounds, infrastructure is key.

If you look at a graph of visitor numbers over the past couple of years, you’ll see a line as steep as Aoraki Mount Cook. Now that growth is stabilising, we can now turn our eye to some of the big questions: What do we actually need? Where do we need it? How do we prioritise these needs? What is central government’s role in addressing the issue? Where do local government and private enterprise fit in?

Along with my tourism officials at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the industry, we’re working to answer these questions, sooner rather than later. While we work towards a long-term solution, it’s important we meet immediate demands.

That’s why we’re putting $5.5m in an additional round of tourism infrastructure funding for regional communities. We’re prioritising smaller councils with a low ratepayer base (who are less able to afford new facilities) through the Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Grant Fund. This second round is in response to the high quality and number of applications received in the fund’s first round, held last year.

At that point we approved $3m for 14 projects across the country, from new toilets at Lake Tekapo to parking at Taranaki’s Rotokare Scenic Reserve, which benefit locals and domestic tourists, as well as our international guests.

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.

There are a range of initiatives already under way that support the tourism sector. Many of these form part of the Government’s tourism strategy, which co-ordinates our efforts to help regions respond to and benefit from increasing visitor numbers.

Our whole-of-government approach for tourism infrastructure in Gisborne includes:

• a forecast $120m in roading improvements through the 2015-2018 National Land Transport Programme

• $1m toward the ultra-fast broadband programme

• up to $2m towards initiatives to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the first meetings between James Cook, Tahitian navigator Tupaia and the tangata whenua of Aotearoa.

Supporting tourism infrastructure and providing core facilities to ensure every visitor has a great experience is one of our top priorities. With quality infrastructure, we can continue to attract high-value visitors and keep them coming back, ensuring you and your family reap the benefits of the tourism boom.

Over the past several years tourism has been a real success story for New Zealand.

We all know tourism is great — for our regional economies, for jobs, for all sorts of businesses. It’s our biggest export earner, and in Gisborne alone visitors spent around $134 million in the year to January.

In most places we have excellent visitor facilities, but there’s no doubt we need more to support growth in the sector. Every area needs something different – whether that’s bogs or bins, carparks or campgrounds, infrastructure is key.

If you look at a graph of visitor numbers over the past couple of years, you’ll see a line as steep as Aoraki Mount Cook. Now that growth is stabilising, we can now turn our eye to some of the big questions: What do we actually need? Where do we need it? How do we prioritise these needs? What is central government’s role in addressing the issue? Where do local government and private enterprise fit in?

Along with my tourism officials at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the industry, we’re working to answer these questions, sooner rather than later. While we work towards a long-term solution, it’s important we meet immediate demands.

That’s why we’re putting $5.5m in an additional round of tourism infrastructure funding for regional communities. We’re prioritising smaller councils with a low ratepayer base (who are less able to afford new facilities) through the Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Grant Fund. This second round is in response to the high quality and number of applications received in the fund’s first round, held last year.

At that point we approved $3m for 14 projects across the country, from new toilets at Lake Tekapo to parking at Taranaki’s Rotokare Scenic Reserve, which benefit locals and domestic tourists, as well as our international guests.

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.

There are a range of initiatives already under way that support the tourism sector. Many of these form part of the Government’s tourism strategy, which co-ordinates our efforts to help regions respond to and benefit from increasing visitor numbers.

Our whole-of-government approach for tourism infrastructure in Gisborne includes:

• a forecast $120m in roading improvements through the 2015-2018 National Land Transport Programme

• $1m toward the ultra-fast broadband programme

• up to $2m towards initiatives to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the first meetings between James Cook, Tahitian navigator Tupaia and the tangata whenua of Aotearoa.

Supporting tourism infrastructure and providing core facilities to ensure every visitor has a great experience is one of our top priorities. With quality infrastructure, we can continue to attract high-value visitors and keep them coming back, ensuring you and your family reap the benefits of the tourism boom.

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Richard - 7 months ago
Congratulations Paula, you have joined that not-so-exclusive, ever-growing number of central government ministers and local MPs who make glowing statements about supporting this region's tourism endeavours and initiatives whilst at the same time failing to contribute a single paragraph about rail.
Rail, the singular most valuable tourist logistics tool which is capable (subject to the right level of investment - financial and intellectual) of delivering to this region both domestic and international guests in bulk 365 days a year, and not on a dozen or so days (weather dependent) during the cruise liner season. Cruiser liners which incidentally no sooner deposit their clients on to shore than whisk them away a few hours later benefiting none of Gisborne's restauranteurs or hoteliers, motels etc. And unlike the cruise liner or the Air NZ Bombardier Q300, rail can also be utilised to deliver into and out of Gisborne bulk freight.
Yes Paula as you said: "With quality infrastructure" - we're still waiting for that quality rail infrastructure!