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Destination Wairarapa: $400k

A group of visiting international sommeliers were treated to the best of Wairarapa wines. PHOTOS/FILE

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Destination Wairarapa has received $400,000 from the Government as part of another round of investment to promote and coordinate regional tourism.

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency [WellingtonNZ] received $1.5 million. The national investment totals $26.6 million.

Destination Wairarapa general manager Anna Nielson said the funding was great news for Wairarapa.

“It reflects the high level of confidence the Government has in the sector and recognises the importance of regional tourism organisations.”

Destination Wairarapa is one of 31 RTOs in New Zealand.

Nielson said the boom in domestic tourism since lockdown last year had demonstrated just how important the sector was to economies.

“Wairarapa has done particularly well and has been one of the best performing regions in terms of growth in visitor spend.”

Nielson said it was important to build on the momentum to ensure that tourism continues not only to be strong but sustainable.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty with Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.

Minister of Tourism Stuart Nash said domestic tourism was experiencing a boom as New Zealander’s took the opportunity to “do something new” and see more of their own backyard.

“Tourism agencies in our regions work hard behind the scenes to ensure they can deliver on their promise to visitors. We all want tourism to be sustainable, well-managed, and for everyone with a stake in the visitor economy to collaborate.”

He said the Government was backing regional efforts with a new round of funding for RTOs for the coming year to support jobs and businesses and keep up the momentum of economic recovery.

The Government has announced its plans to reopen borders, the strategy included a fast-tracked vaccination rollout, a self-isolation pilot at the end of this year, and a move to new “risk based” border settings from the start of new year.

Nash said RTOs worked alongside industry representatives, community groups, iwi, councils, and others on destination management plans for how they proposed to work together. Their proposals have now been signed off and funding can be allocated.

He said the $26.6 million was a significant investment that allowed RTOs to enhance destination management plans, build industry skills and capability, develop new products and ideas to attract visitors, promote sustainable tourism, and roll out marketing.

Nash said WellingtonNZ and Nelson Regional Development Agency were working with tourism businesses to support them to become more sustainable or offer new visitor products and experiences that have a low carbon footprint.

“Whether the RTOs are in smaller population centres like Clutha or Hurunui, or large urban areas like Auckland or Rotorua, they are also working to strengthen the foundations of their visitor economies for when international visitors return.”

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