Focus on South Island tourism and regional economies

South Island regions hardest hit by the closure of international borders are the focus of a visit by Tourism and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash over the next two days.

Mr Nash will visit Southland and Central Otago to discuss challenges facing regional economies. He will travel to Te Anau, Invercargill, Queenstown, Arrowtown and Cromwell.

“I would like to hear first-hand from local mayors and councillors, small businesses, employers, community organisations and iwi about how they are responding to the impact of closed borders,” Mr Nash said.

“I also would like updates on the roll out of tourism support and infrastructure investment from the Tourism Recovery Package, Provincial Growth Fund and other sources.

“I have been upfront that mass-scale international tourism is unlikely before 2022, but we are working hard to open a Trans-Tasman bubble as soon as we can in 2021.

“We have never stopped working on the issue of the trans-Tasman bubble. Although we have had community cases here, and there have been community outbreaks in Australia which have slowed things down, the work has never stopped. We remain committed to it.

“We are on-track to vaccinate the majority of Kiwis against COVID19 by the end of this year, after the deal to purchase extra doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Mass vaccination against COVID19 is a crucial step for our tourism industry and wider economy.

“It reinforces our approach from the very beginning of the global pandemic, which was to emphasise a strong health response as the best economic response.

“We responded immediately with a $400 million dollar support package for tourism last year. Wider support through wage subsidies, resurgence payments, and interest-free loans are also available.

Background for Editors

Economic support in Southland: 

Under the Tourism Recovery Package, eleven tourism businesses in Fiordland, Stewart Island and Invercargill received $5.5million in cash grants, as well as multi-million dollar concessionary loan offers that are interest-free and don’t require repayment for two years. In addition, destination marketing agencies received $1.95 million to promote domestic tourism and events in Southland and Fiordland.*

In infrastructure and regional economic development, approximately 47 Southland projects have received $90 million from the Provincial Development Unit (MBIE). This helps diversify regional economies that rely heavily on international tourism.

Projects include big-ticket items, like:

  • $22 million for the Milford Highway Fibre Connection
  • $19.5 million for an inner-city regeneration project in Invercargill
  • $8 million for a salmon hatchery at Bluff
  • $1.9 million in forestry grants
  • $500,000 for Invercargill airport terminal development

There are also a number of smaller projects under $0.5 million that nevertheless are important for community resilience and local pride, like restoration of community halls, war memorials, marae and churches.

Economic support in Queenstown Lakes-Central Otago:

Under the Tourism Recovery Package (TRG), 27 businesses in the Otago region, most of them around the Lakes, received $17.46million in cash grants. Separate multi-million dollar concessionary loan offers are interest-free and don’t need repayment for two years. In addition, destination marketing agencies received a further $2.4million to promote domestic tourism and events in Queenstown, Wanaka, and Central Otago.*

Outside the TRG, approximately 60 infrastructure and regional economic development projects in Otago are receiving $98 million from the Provincial Development Unit (MBIE). This will help diversify regional economies and create new jobs.

Infrastructure projects include:

  • $6.5million for the Clutha Gold Cycle Trail
  • $2million for seismic strengthening of the Lakes District Museum at Arrowtown
  • $1.2million to upgrade community halls in the Queenstown Lakes District
  • $8million for upgrades to the SH6/SH8b intersection at Cromwell

* Tourism businesses supported in Southland are: Doubtful Sound Cruises; Fiordland Expeditions; JUCY Cruise; Milford Sound Tourism; Real Journeys Milford Sound; Stewart Island Ferry Service; Te Anau Glowworm Caves; Te Anau Helicopter Services; Transport World; Air Milford; Southern Discoveries.

Tourism businesses supported in the Lakes and Central Otago districts include: TSS Earnslaw and Walter Peak; Cardrona and Treble Cone; Puzzling World; Ziptrek Ecotours; AJ Hackett; Outback NZ Nomad Safaris; Dart River Safaris; KJet; Wilkin River Jets; Wanaka River Journeys; Skyline Queenstown; Highlands Motorsport Park; Skydive Queenstown; Over the Top; True South Flights; Glenorchy Air; Alpine Helicopters; Southern Alps Air; Backcountry Helicopters;

Marketing and economic development agencies are: Destination Fiordland; Great South; Southern Lakes Marketing Alliance; Lake Wanaka Tourism; Destination Queenstown; Central Otago District Council.