Tourism organisations in the Ruapehu and Whanganui regions have received $1.4 million in Government funding to help the sector recover after the Covid-19 lockdown.
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced yesterday more than $20 million has been approved through the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP) for New Zealand's 31 Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) to support the industry's recovery in the short and long term.
The funding includes $700,000 each for Whanganui & Partners and Visit Ruapehu which are the RTOs for the Whanganui and Ruapehu regions.
Visit Ruapehu general manager Jo Kennedy said the funding was "great news for Ruapehu".
"This gives us the capacity to advance the work that has been completed in conjunction with the Ruapehu District Council over the last few years with the Ruapehu Regional Visitor Development Plan," Kennedy said.
Kennedy said the money will be used for domestic marketing, industry capability, event marketing and destination management/planning alongside Ruapehu District Council destination development manager Warren Furner.
Forward bookings in the Visit Ruapehu region were "promising, but it's early days", Kennedy said.
"So far the sector is doing well, buoyed by a strong school holidays and weekends skiing on the maunga."
Furner said Ruapehu District Council was looking forward to working closely with Visit Ruapehu in delivering its role in the destination management plan.
"Government's investment through the STAPP is testament to council's steady hand at the wheel and continued investment in the Regional Tourism Organisation," Furner said.
Regional Tourism New Zealand chairman David Perks said the investment plans developed by each region contain a high degree of inter-regional collaboration, resource sharing and industry capability support.
"The building blocks are being put in place to develop a much more resilient industry according to the different needs of their communities, local government partners and industry," Perks said.
Paul Chaplow from Whanganui & Partners said the additional funding was a significant boost to the RTO's budget.
One of the most important projects to come from the funding will be the destination management plan, Chaplow said.
"A destination management plan brings together different stakeholders to achieve the common goal of developing a well-managed visitor destination. It will allow us to make the most of our opportunities while ensuring our visitor industry is sustainable.
"This was the first winter we've done a destination marketing campaign, and we've seen the impact. We know that our marketing is having a positive effect, and I'm really excited to see what we can do with an increased budget."