Northland missed out on tourism support scheme, despite social development advice it should get it
He said tourism businesses in the region need to catch up with other parts of the country before international tourism returns.
“Regional utility officials are concerned about the cumulative impact that the loss of tourism revenue and jobs is having on deprivation.”
But the government chose to focus only on the regions of the South Island.
At the time, Tourism Minister Stuart Nash announced ’12 key points’ of the Tourism Communities Plan.
“Half are focused on the most vulnerable regions of the South Island: Fiordland, South Westland, Queenstown Lakes, Mackenzie District and Kaikōura. The other six are national initiatives.”
Support for these five areas includes psychological and social well-being support and training, grants for expert advice on planning and decision-making, and a $49 million start-up fund for suspended businesses are reopening for returning international visitors.
Nash told RNZ Today the Cabinet used “strict” funding criteria.
International visitors were expected to account for more than 50% of tourism spending before Covid-19, and tourism was expected to account for more than 10% of the region’s overall spending, so Te Tai Tokerau did not meet the threshold, Nash said .
The region had benefited more from domestic travelers during the pandemic than other parts of the country, but he acknowledged Auckland’s lockdown had a “significant impact” in the second half of last year, he said declared.
“I was very comfortable with the money we had invested in Northland in specific tourism projects, as well as support for Northland tourism businesses. Now this was before Auckland went into lockdown, I have to say, and I’m just repeating that when we locked down Auckland due to the Delta outbreak there which had a significant impact on Northland.”
The area had benefited from other tourism allocations under the Provincial Growth Fund and the previous government $400 million tourism stimulus package in 2020, he said.