By RNZ

The Taupō District Council has slashed half-a-million dollars of funding for its regional tourism agency.

The council had promised not to increase rates in the aftermath of Covid-19, which meant it was having to make cost savings elsewhere.

With the borders closed to international visitors, council chief executive Gareth Green said Destination Great Lake Taupō has shifted its focus to the domestic tourism market.

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"In light of this stronger focus on the domestic market, along with the need to deliver operational savings in the annual plan, Destination Great Lake Taupō (DGLT) and council have agreed to a reduction in operational funding for the 2020/21 financial year of $500,000.

"As part of this decision, DGLT will maintain the same level of marketing spend for the region, effectively boosting the domestic spend to entice more Kiwis to visit the district."

Green said any decisions about staff cuts as a result of the funding reduction would be up to DGLT itself.

DGLT would keep some base-level connections with key international markets in anticipation of the borders opening at some point.

The council was making cuts across a range of areas as it tried to make savings in the wake of the impact of Covid-19.