Rotorua tourism benefits from $400 million bailout

Wetini Mitai-Ngatai addresses Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis at Whakarewarewa this morning.

Rotorua tourism businesses will reap the benefits of the government's Tourism Recovery Package after a further $300 million in nation-wide funding was announced at Whakarewarewa today. 

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis was warmly welcomed onto Te Pakira Marae in Whakarewarewa Village by local iwi Tuhourangi/Ngati Wahiao on a chilly morning in Rotorua where he gave details of the government's $400 million tourism sector bailout. 

Davis says he chose the village to announce that more than $300 million in funding has been approved to protect strategic tourism businesses, drive domestic tourism and lift the digital capability in the tourism industry, as Whakarewarewa was the true home of tourism in Aotearoa.

A $400 million Tourism Recovery Package was announced at Budget 2020, and with today’s announcements is now fully allocated. The $311 million of funding announced today includes a mixture of grants of up to $500,000, and loans to support the industry through the uncertainties brought by Covid-19.

“The package will support tourism operators of all sizes and types including Māori cultural attractions, adventure activities, scenic tours, and zoos, aquariums and wildlife encounters across Aotearoa,” Davis says.

The package includes:

- Over $230 million in grants and loans for 126 strategic tourism businesses to help protect the jobs of around 3000 people.

- $50 million for a Regional Events Fund.

- $20 million inbound tour operator loan scheme.

- $10 million to lift digital capability in the sector.

“Through the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP), we have approved support for 126 tourism businesses including 18 Māori tourism businesses that will help secure jobs and boost business at this incredibly tough time,” says Davis.

“On top of this, we’re investing $50 million in a Regional Events Fund, to help drive domestic tourism and give Kiwis another reason to get out and explore Aotearoa. 

“We’re supporting the tourism industry to help weather the storm, adapt to build new ways of working and new products, and build a foundation that will mean we have a more sustainable tourism industry that benefits all New Zealanders in the future.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis making his funding announcement at Te Pakira this morning.

Davis says inbound tour operators will be offered up to $20 million in loans so they can be prepared for when international travel resumes and $10 million has been allocated to develop digital strategies and initiatives.

“We’ve had to adapt the type of support we’re providing to make sure it was targeted, it was sustainable and had the biggest impact possible for the long-term health of the tourism sector," Davis says.

Wetini Mitai-Ngatai of Mitai Maori Village says he is grateful for the financial help and the money will be put to good use retaining staff and implementing new ways of doing things.

"It's very important for us to stay positive and this money will help us redesign for the future."

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says it is an important day for Rotorua and the funding would protect jobs and go a long way to keeping important tourism businesses running in tough times.

"We need help right now, especially our tourism industry, and I'm glad our government has listened," she says.

Rotorua tourism businesses benefitting from the STAPP package include;

  •   •  Mitai Māori Village 

  •   •  Polynesian Spa 

  •   •  Lakeland Queen 

  •   •  National Kiwi Hatchery at Rainbow Springs 

  •   •  Velocity Valley 

  •   •  Volcanic Air 

  •   •  Whakarewarewa - The Living Maori Village 

  •   •  Buried Village of Te Wairoa

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