Emergency support funding for those affected by Whakaari/White Island eruption has been welcomed by Tourism Bay of Plenty.
The Government's $5 million package will provide immediate support to those Whakatāne businesses most affected, especially small businesses and operators Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne said in a statement tonight.
The details of the fund were being worked through by officials from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Dunne said she would have an update in the New Year.
However, Dunne said, Tourism Bay of Plenty would continue to support the Whakatāne community and the families of those affected by the eruption of Whakaari/White Island.
"We're conscious of the importance of the visitor economy to our communities and we will provide you with regular updates as we move forward as an industry together.
"We have worked quickly to update the official 2019 Bay of Plenty Visitor Guide. 10,000 copies of this edited version will be distributed to key visitor points before Christmas."
Dunne said she would like to acknowledge the admirable efforts of tourism operators that immediately responded to the eruption and provided services to connect whānau of those impacted with their loved ones.
"We extend our endless gratitude to Kahu (Frontier Helicopters), Volcanic Air, White Island Tours, Shore Trips & Tours and Air Chathams.
"Thank you to Ngāti Awa for their manaakitanga, hospitality and aroha.
"Their tikanga and guidance will continue to be crucial as we move forward."
Whakatāne mayor Judy Turner told Newstalk ZB the funding was hugely important for the community.
She said a number of businesses were expecting a downturn or were concerned about how it was all going to play out for them.