The Art Deco Trust has welcomed the announcement of a $500,000 grant from the government, saying it will ensure the flagship festival events and heritage walks and tours can continue.

The grant is spread over two years and is part of the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Plan announced on Saturday by Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis.

The trust said the announcement recognises it as a strategic regional tourism asset, and will provide a "much-needed cash injection" to ensure the festivals and tours will be retained the next two years.

"We are delighted that with the help of Saturday's funding announcement, the region can now look forward to that much-needed economic boost in February," Art Deco Trust Chairman Michael Fowler said.

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Following Covid-19, the trust experienced a "dramatic drop" in revenue from international visitors and community funding sources, and therefore made changes.

This included a restructure in which four positions were disestablished. Two of these people did not want to be redeployed and left and two remained in different positions, Fowler said.

Trust Chairman Michael Fowler said the grant will help fill the gap in its income. Photo / File
Trust Chairman Michael Fowler said the grant will help fill the gap in its income. Photo / File

The trust had also originally considered closing its retail shop but later decided to continue its operation.

Fowler said the grant will not provide a surplus but will fill the gap in income.

"Covid-19 has turned off the tap of international visitors for the foreseeable future and that has left a massive hole in our income. With other sources of local funding no longer so readily available either, like so many organisations, we have had to adapt to survive.

"Alongside the changes we've already made, this funding boost will make a big difference to our immediate circumstances and means we can confidently move ahead with planning for this summer's Art Deco Festival. We will also be able maintain our Heritage Walks and Tours for domestic visitors and locals."

More than 40,000 visitors attend the five-day summer Art Deco Festival, generating a net benefit of $2.11 million for Hawke's Bay.

Napier MP Stuart Nash, a former CE of the Art Deco Trust, said the Festival and heritage tours have significant economic value to the region.

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