Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) says a newly-announced $54.2 million government-funded ‘Innovation Program for Tourism Recovery’ will boost the work already being done to help the sector transition towards a new normal in a post-pandemic environment.
TIA Chief Executive, Rebecca Ingram says the industry is committed to becoming more sustainable, with 1600 businesses signed up to her organisation’s Tourism Sustainability Commitment.
Along with the Government’s Tourism Industry Transformation Plan, she said, the Innovation Program is set to turbocharge this work and TIA looks forward to being closely involved in its development.
In addition to the new funding, Tourism Minister, Stuart Nash also announced $1.55 million has been specifically allocated to support TRENZ, the country’s largest international B2B travel and trade event which TIA manages on behalf of the Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust, in partnership with Tourism New Zealand (TNZ).
“TRENZ, the tourism industry’s moment to shine, was an integral part of New Zealand’s tourism infrastructure prior to COVID-19, generating business and helping to directly grow the industry,” Ms Ingram said.
“Providing support for TRENZ directly enables our tourism recovery and ensures we can start planning and preparing with confidence for 2023.
Each year, TRENZ brings hundreds of international travel buyers and media delegates together to meet with New Zealand’s leading tourism operators, to build or renew relationships and negotiate business deals for the coming seasons.
However, due to border restrictions, overseas buyers have been unable to attend TRENZ for the last three years.
In 2021, the Government provided funding from the Regional Events Fund to TIA in support of TRENZ, the funding allowing TIA to create TRENZ Connect, the online seller-to-buyer business platform.
The new funding will allow New Zealand sellers to continue listing on the TRENZ Connect platform for free.
“We are also pleased to see the new investment of $2.975 million in the i-SITE network. The i-SITEs offer a warm welcome and practical support to our international visitors. This funding will ensure the network is fit for the future,” Ms Ingram said.
Ms Ingram also welcomed the new Business Growth Fund for small and medium businesses, announced as part of the Budget.
“Tourism comprises numerous SMEs and it is likely they will be able to benefit from the new fund, Ms Ingram said.
“And additional funding for the Department of Conservation (DOC) is pleasing.
“The public conservation estate is a vital component of both domestic and international tourism experiences.
“DOC’s revenue has also been affected by the closure of our borders so we are very pleased this was recognised in this year’s Budget and that DOC will be able to maintain and upgrade visitor infrastructure in addition to other activities.”