A Government boost of $700,000 to the Hawke's Bay's tourism sector will be used to attract in-country tourists looking for a "Baycation".
New Zealand's 31 Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) will receive a cut of more than $20m to support the industry's recovery in the short and long-term after Covid-19.
The money, which forms part of the Government's Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Plan, was announced by Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis yesterday.
Hawke's Bay Tourism received the joint second most, topped by Auckland, Queenstown, Rotorua, Wellington and Christchurch, who received $1m each.
Hamish Saxton, Hawke's Bay Tourism chief executive, said the funding will help extend the associations Baycation campaign to entice visitors from Wellington and the lower North Island.
"Without the funding, we would simply not be in the position to do that, and in this current, highly competitive market, we need to achieve more than our fair share of visitors," he said.
"Feedback from our membership surveys clearly tells us that what our members need right now, to recover, is visitors.
"And, if these businesses have any chance of making up for the 50 days or so where they could not operate, these visitors need to do more, stay longer and come back."
Davis said all 31 RTOs help contribute to their regional economies and play an important role in supporting the tourism system nationwide.
"The funding will allow RTOs to support their communities and tourism operators, stimulate regional demand, leverage Tourism New Zealand's national marketing campaign and increase the industry's capability," he said.
"The investment will enable RTOs to support the recovery and rebuilding of our tourism sector and encourage more people to explore our regions and discover their own backyard."
To receive the funds, Hawke's Bay Tourism developed a business case and investment plan, which was submitted to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Saxton said their job now is to deliver on that plan.
"In Hawke's Bay's case, most of the funds will be spent on generating visitor interest. We need to maintain and build on the momentum from our earlier visitor marketing campaign," he said.
"We sincerely thank the Minister and Government for recognising the critical need and also that at this time, local government and ratepayers cannot fund the investment required to reignite domestic tourism on their own."
The funding boost, which comes on the condition that local government retains its current investment in RTOs, recognises the important work of RTOs and their value to the economies they serve, Saxton added.