The Government is making up to $20.2 million available to NZ’s 31 Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) for destination management, marketing and planning.

Hawke’s Bay Tourism is our region’s RTO and can apply for up to $700k, the ceiling amount for which RTOs with funding less than $3m are eligible. HB Tourism’s annual turnover is $2.2m of which the HB Regional Council funds $1.5m.

The key condition is that HBRC must continue to fund that amount in FY2020-21; in other words, the Government grant cannot substitute for council funding. No issue here, because the HBRC’s LTP plan assures the same $1.5m funding through that year.

HB Tourism will need to present an investment proposal to MBIE to secure the Gov’t top-off.

BayBuzz asked HB Tourism general manager Hamish Saxton how the additional $700k might be deployed.

First the obligatory nod to his Board: “Management will present our proposals to our board for sign-off and endorsement, as a board’s responsibility is to set the strategic direction of the organisation.”

But he did offer his initial thoughts on a “potential wishlist”.

Commenting on the just-launched campaign focused on attracting visitors from Wellington and Manawatu: “…as we develop a greater picture of its success, we will no doubt wish to exploit that, and build upon it, to ensure we do not lose momentum nor market share.”

And assuming a move to Covid Level 1, additional funding “may also allow us to reengage with business, conference and incentive sectors and potentially allow us to add weight to key events that are known to attract visitors to the region. Both these sectors have been significantly impacted by Covid-19 and it would be a benefit to the whole economy to see them reignited.”

I can hear Hamish’s keyboard clicking away on that MBIE proposal as I write!

Photo: Waimarama Maori Tourism

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