The four regions of the Thermal Explorer Highway collective including Rotorua, Waikato, Taupō and Ruapehu have been approved $3.75 million for regional events by Tourism Minister Stuart Nash today (Thursday, 17 December 2020).
The local regional tourism organisations (RTOs) from Rotorua, Waikato, Taupō and Ruapehu, alongside their council partners, have worked together on developing a collaborative regional events investment plan for the next two to three years to drive additional domestic visitation into their regions.
This is the first investment from the $50 million Regional Events Fund to stimulate domestic tourism and travel between regions through holding events. The fund is intended to support the tourism and events sector, and replace some of the spend from international tourists as a result of COVID-19.
Destination Rotorua interim chief executive Andrew Wilson welcomes the announcement and says that a strong events industry plays a key role in the city’s economy.
“Events add to the vibrancy of Rotorua and attract visitors from out of town who also spend money on accommodation, hospitality, retail and attractions while they are here.”
Tourism New Zealand research indicates that up to one-third of domestic travel is primarily driven by people looking to participate in events.
The bulk of the $3.75 million fund will be used to create a contestable fund with successful events being supported over a three-year period. The focus will be on the development of event with a mix of new and expansion of existing events. Another portion of the funding will be used to develop or update existing regional event strategies, plus run capability building workshops and training for event organisers and suppliers, with the remainder to cover administration, legal and event measurement.
Minister Nash congratulated the Thermal Explorer Regional Event Fund collective for being first out of the blocks to submit an investment plan.
“The RTOs have collaborated across the districts and are now the first to have funding released to spend according to local priorities” said Nash.
“Events will reflect common themes across the districts, including water-related sports and action events; music, cultural and heritage events; and food and beverage events. These events will help to accelerate the economic recovery in these regions and support local jobs and businesses” added Nash.
Further information on the contestable fund, event criteria and application process will be made available early in the New Year.
To ensure event organisers receive notification when the Thermal Explorer Regional Event Fund opens, please email firstname.lastname@example.org