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Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Hon Matt Doocey image 940

Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Hon Matt Doocey.

The Government is set to launch a $5 million regional event promotion fund, which aims to attract visitors to Aotearoa’s regions.

Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Hon Matt Doocey made the announcement at the University of Otago Business School’s Tourism Policy School in Queenstown today.

The $5 million fund will provide co-funding to promote regional events, to encourage visitors to travel around the country throughout the year.

“Events are excellent drawcards to get more visitors into our regions, particularly in quieter parts of the year for the tourism and hospitality sector,” Mr Doocey says.

The fund will be available to Regional Tourism Organisations (RTO) and councils without RTOs to help promote ticketed events. They will need to co-fund 50 per cent of the funds.

Mr Doocey says main centres around Aotearoa are already well-visited.

“It’s important that we showcase the whole country rather than focus on a few tourist hotspots. We want to help promote regional events that will deliver a high return on investment and encourage visitors to explore beyond the main centres.”

“We want to help grow the sector in a sustainable and productive way to ensure businesses can operate year-round and can employ staff on a more permanent basis rather than seasonally. This is something that was included in our 100-point economic plan and it’s great to be able to deliver it for the sector.”

The fund will be administered by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Earlier in this presentation, Mr Doocey outlined his three key goals as Minster for Tourism and Hospitality.

They are growing the value of international tourism, supporting regions to maximise the value of tourism and supporting the people who make up the tourism and hospitality workforce.

“It’s about growing tourism, getting tourism to regional and rural New Zealand and supporting the workforce.”

He talked about the need to avoid “over-tourism” in certain areas and spread people around the country so they’re not concentrated to one area at one time.

The tourism and hospitality sector is a big employer but not always seen as a credible career pathway, so he wants to work with the Minister of Education and industry and education stakeholders to implement a new NCEA tourism achievement standard to highlight the value of tourism as a career.

Mr Doocey says he has been asked how many visitors he would like to see in New Zealand, but says that is not his decision, it is up to the regions to decide what they want from tourism.

“I think it should be devolved, it should be localised, where local people are making that decision.”

School Co-Director Associate Professor Susan Houge Mackenzie says it’s encouraging the Minister wants to hear from a wide range of tourism stakeholders and has said he is still forming his vision and approach to the tourism sector.

“However, it’s clear that many stakeholders and destinations may be disappointed to learn that destination management will remain largely devolved to local and regional levels,” she says.

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