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QUEENSTOWN WELCOMES TOURISM FUNDING BOOST

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May, 2017

MP Todd Barclay welcomed this months announcement of a $178
million
Tourism Infrastructure Package, as the tourism boom continues to put
overwhelming pressure on existing infrastructure.

Tourism Minister Paula Bennett and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry
this month announced a new $102 million Tourism Infrastructure Fund
and
$76 million in new funding for the DOC Estate.

For the past three years, a priority of mine has been making a case to
ministers that we need a fairer way of recognising the disproportionate
pressures on our infrastructure generated by high volumes of tourists,
Mr
Barclay says.

A lot of our towns and communities experiencing this growth in
Clutha-
Southland have a limited ability to respond to the pressures associated
with it because of low ratepayer bases. I continue to receive
correspondence and representations from our councils, tourism
operators,
other businesses and members of the public calling for the Government
to
invest more in infrastructure.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa also released figures to December last year
showing a national spend from domestic and international tourists by
electorate.

The figures show Clutha-Southland had the second highest tourism
earnings in the country, at $2,497,740,601, behind Auckland Central.

Guest nights in Clutha-Southland continue to grow, with 3,511,898 in
Queenstown in the year to March 2017, 640,199 in Fiordland, 90,226 in
Clutha, and 432,136 in Southland.

The new $102 million Tourism Infrastructure Fund recognizes that
tourism
growth is at a larger scale than previously anticipated and will provide
financial support for local tourism-related infrastructure where tourism
growth is placing pressure on, or potential growth is constrained by,
existing infrastructure and local communities are unable to respond in a
timely way without assistance.

Tourism is an overwhelmingly positive industry for the electorate; its
an
industry to be celebrated and supported, Mr Barclay says.

Were lucky that alongside agriculture, tourists, domestic and
international, are the lifeblood of many of our communities; they eat in
our cafes, drink in our bars, shop in our stores and walk with our guides.

Now that this increased funding is available, Im looking forward to
working with our southern councils to identify the projects we need and
where, apply for the funding and get things moving.

Many of these projects are expensive, so the Tourism Infrastructure
Fund
will allow our councils to apply for co-funding for projects to address
capacity constraints and support our regions to realise their tourism
potential. In some instances, community organisations may apply with
council backing.

There will be up to two rounds per year with the first to open in the
second half of 2017.
Im also pleased to get assurance from the Tourism Minister that the
Government will continue to consider projects that might fall outside
the
funds criteria, Mr Barclay says.

The $76 million in new funding for the DOC Estate will also go a long
way
to help manage the impact of visitor growth, protecting New Zealands
biodiversity and threatened species.

 

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