Tauranga cruise hub to support visitor growth

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will help fund the construction of Te Tomokanga, the Tauranga Cruise Gateway and Welcome Hub to support the Bay of Plenty’s goal of creating 4000 new jobs in tourism, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced.

The new hub is expected to drive a 35 per cent increase in cruise ship numbers, boosting the amount spent by visitors. Last season, the local economy benefited by about $91 million from the 223,000 cruise ship passengers who visited.

“The old welcome centre is made out of two converted cargo containers and provides neither a warm welcome to visitors nor tells the stories of the people of the Bay of Plenty,” Shane Jones said.

“The new hub, Te Tomokanga (The Archway), will allow the region to present its best face to visitors. More and more tourists are visiting the Bay of Plenty and the region has done a great job of marketing itself as a visitor destination. This new facility is crucial for providing a positive visitor experience as numbers increase.

“The $5 million multi-purpose facility will receive $980,000 from the PGF. Te Tomokanga will primarily cater to cruise ship passengers, but will assist visitors to Mt Maunganui arriving by car, and local residents. It will feature an i-Site and covered areas that will allow a range of uses including markets and concerts, and will replace an inadequate temporary structure currently used to process cruise ship passengers. Thirty four people will be employed in Te Tomokanga.

“Roughly half of all cruise passengers also visit Rotorua, Whakatāne and Hobbiton, so providing a fit-for-purpose Gateway which provides links to the rest of the region will help the Bay take an important step in its tourism industry.

“This project has been identified as an infrastructure priority for the Bay of Plenty and has support from across the whole region, including Destination Rotorua, iwi, businesses and regional tourism organisations,” Shane Jones said.

Editor’s note: Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is approved in principle and announced, after which contracts are negotiated. Some funding may depend on completion of business cases. Payments are made once agreed milestones are met. These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.