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Cultural tourism’s vital role recognised

Cultural tourism’s vital role recognised with new funding

Tourism Minister Mark Burton and Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Judith Tizard are seeking expressions of interest from Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) who are working with the cultural sector on innovative developments for cultural tourism in their region.

Mark Burton has approved funding of $770,000 to develop cultural tourism—an area viewed as a strong driver of tourism, both domestic and international. Four regions that have already established positions as cultural tourism providers and that demonstrate robust plans for further development will be selected for funding.

Tourism New Zealand will also receive funding to co-ordinate a promotional programme for these cultural products that will provide trade and media marketing opportunities overseas and elevate consumer awareness of New Zealand’s cultural tourism experience.

Mark Burton stressed that developing a strong cultural tourism market, which includes such areas as Maori cultural experiences, performing and visual arts, museums, festivals, and historical sites, is the next stage in implementing the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010.

“This is an exciting opportunity for four of New Zealand’s regions to enhance their cultural tourism capability, as well as to build better mutual understanding between the tourism and cultural sectors.

“Each of the selected regions will receive $100,000 to assist in developing an enhanced range of high-quality, ‘export-ready’ cultural tourism products that can be marketed to domestic and international visitors alike.”

Funding for the selected regions would create a cultural tourism development programme and assist each region to: Increase the quality of its existing cultural tourism products and create visitor demand for those products Enhance the region’s cultural point of difference in the tourism marketplace Incorporate cultural thinking into regional/local level tourism decision-making and strategy development.

The initiative arose out of discussions among the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism New Zealand, Creative New Zealand, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Historic Places Trust, Te Papa National Services, Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Economic Development and Industry New Zealand. It is, says Mark Burton, “an excellent example of the whole of government approach to tourism outlined in the New Zealand Strategy 2010.

Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard said a strong cultural tourism sector has benefits for New Zealand’s international identity, but also for local economic development, because most of New Zealand’s arts and cultural tourism enterprises are owned locally.

“Cultural tourism gives visitors – both from overseas and around New Zealand – an opportunity for a deeper understanding of our unique people, places and cultural identity,“ said Judith Tizard. “We know from research that the cultural experience and interaction with New Zealand people is a strong driver of visits to New Zealand by international tourists.

“I know of people who have travelled here because of our unique music such as the ‘Dunedin sound’, and to go to major events such as the Wearable Art Awards and the Taranaki Arts Festival.

“The significant economic and cultural contribution of major attractions such as Waitangi, The Lord of the Rings, Te Papa and the New Zealand Festival can’t be underestimated.

“Visitors also have their personal favourites, such as Hundertwasser’s fabulous public toilets in Kawakawa, or the Ralph Hotere collection at the Eastern Southland Gallery in Gore, or pilgrimages to the birthplaces and writing places of our beloved authors,” said Judith Tizard.

Mark Burton also stressed that this regional initiative would strengthen the tourism sector as a whole.

“The funding that has been made available for cultural tourism programme development will help to further enhance New Zealand’s thriving tourism market and our regions’ cultural points of difference. This is another example of this government’s continuing commitment to innovative partnerships with the tourism sector.”

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