Events and the benefits they could bring to the region has been a focus of economic development agency Whanganui & Partners recently.
From a Government event fund shared with Taranaki and Manawatū, Whanganui got $100,000 for the Masters Games, $40,000 for the Cemetery Circuit racing and $25,000 for Vintage Weekend.
Whanganui & Partners interim chief executive Gaelle Deighton that it had another $1 million across the region is to be put into new events, and has yet to be divided up.
Adding a winter event in Whanganui is one possibility.
Deighton and the economic development agency's board chairman Pahia Turia made their quarterly report to Whanganui District Council on September 15, just as the region climbed to the top of the ASB's quarterly economic scoreboard.
In the midst of Covid-19 disruption the Whanganui District is on track for its highest ever annual consumer spend, Whanganui & Partners interim CE Gaelle Deighton says.
The funding prompted councillors to ask whether Whanganui has an in-house events strategy, as Manawatū and Taranaki do. Councillor Helen Craig said event planning here tends to be ad hoc.
Whanganui & Partners is taking more interest in the benefits events can deliver, Deighton said. It wants more consistent marketing and branding, and will have an events strategy in the next year.
Craig would have liked some funding for the Artists Open Studios event, which was crippled by the lockdown, and councillor Philippa Baker-Hogan mentioned sporting events.
Councillor Jenny Duncan asked whether Upokongaro was getting any help in planning for visitors when the new bridge opens.
Meanwhile Whanganui has also recently received $700,000 from the Government's tourism package.
The district has also benefited through a Government business partnership programme offered due to Covid-19, with 85 businesses taking it up since July 1.
Whanganui & Partners helped the Cook Island Christian Church and Fijian Assembly of God Church get $285,000, to renovate their shared Gonville property.
It also supported the council in a Provincial Growth Fund application that was given $1.5 million to use for jobs training in the port project.
Amid all the good news, tourism, hospitality and transport businesses will take longer to recover from Covid-19, Deighton said.
Businesses that need support are encouraged to contact Whanganui & Partners or visit its website for more information.
Other businesses have been doing exceptionally well. Since the lockdown district spending has made up for lost time. It now equals the amount spent during the same seven months last year.
For the week ending on September 6, Whanganui spending was up 15.2 per cent compared to the same week last year. Nationally, spending was up 5.8 per cent for the same week.