A collaboration between central and local government on a review of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund, with nine changes announced today, will assist small communities struggling with the volume of tourists and lead to better experiences for travellers, says LGNZ President Dave Cull.
“As we saw last year, there was a significant gap between the increased number of travellers and the infrastructure our regions were able to provide to meet that influx.”
“Minister of Tourism Kelvin Davis has listened to local government concerns, particularly around eligibility criteria, coverage of operating costs and funding of feasibility studies, and invited local government to collaborate on solutions, which have been developed quickly and effectively.”
The Tourism Infrastructure Fund provides $100 million over four years for the development of tourism-related infrastructure such as carparks, freedom camping facilities, sewerage and water works and transport projects.
“Credit must go to the minister for championing a ground-up policy development process that had strong local government engagement, to ensure the fund is fit-for-purpose, particularly for the councils and communities who use it.”
The review is just one of several initiatives to strengthen the tourism capability of the regions ahead of the peak summer season, says Rotorua Lakes District Mayor and Responsible Camping Working Group Chair Steve Chadwick.
“Many small towns and ratepayers bases are hosting huge numbers of tourists. The fund review, as well as the Responsible Camping Working Group, the Tiaki Promise initiative and tourism strategy are a step in the right direction to ensure we’re prepared for a fantastic summer.”
LGNZ have campaigned for a sustainable package of tourism infrastructure funding, including a Local Tourist Levy, but also see the government’s International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy as a positive step, as it recognises that tourists should contribute to the costs of the infrastructure they use.
“There’s no silver bullet – we need collaboration between local and central government and the private sector to ensure that the social licence and manaakitanga provided by our communities continues,” continued Mrs Chadwick.