One hundred thousand dollars has been set aside for designing a visitor information centre at Mount Maunganui.
Tauranga City Council has decided to budget $100,000 for the project design and consents associated with developing new visitor information facilities in Tauranga, with the council's preferred hub at Salisbury Ave/Coronation Park. This would be loan funded.
The council also opted to increase the targeted economic development rate to provide an additional $150,000 to Tourism Bay of Plenty for providing visitor services and a one-off $150,000 for improvements to the i-Port.
I think it's entirely appropriate that we don't greet visitors to Tauranga with a container with a bit of plastic on top.
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Councillor Steve Morris supported the preferred option for a Salisbury Ave/Coronation Park visitor gateway to Mount Maunganui.
"I think it's entirely appropriate that we don't greet visitors to Tauranga with a container with a bit of plastic on top. We need to show them the best that Tauranga has to offer before they go to some of the freelance tourism operators that encourage them to go to Rotorua."
Cr Morris said the old i-Site was not sufficient to cater for the number of tourists coming to the Mount.
"There will be some comments out there about why did council close the previous i-Site where the bakery is. That was a previous council that cut the budget, Tourism Bay of Plenty reacted to that by closing the i-Site."
Cr Bev Edlin said the city needed to highlight its "wonderful features" to visitors because they were jumping on buses and going elsewhere.
Cr John Robson said he was comfortable with the recommendations but was disappointed by the absence of the Port of Tauranga from the conversation, as one of the major beneficiaries of a new i-Site. "This is an opportunity for the Port of Tauranga to step up to the plate."
Cr Catherine Stewart requested that a cultural centre be a part of any future visitor centre, otherwise the rebuild would be a wasted opportunity.
Cr Matt Cowley said only a third of cruise ship passengers jumped on a bus out of the city; the other two-thirds either stayed on the ship or visited the city.