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$75,000 grant for Brunner Bridge Restoration

$75,000 grant for Brunner Bridge Restoration

West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor today presented a cheque for $75,000 on behalf of Tourism Minister Mark Burton to help fund the restoration of Brunner Bridge, near Greymouth.

The funding comes from the Minister's Tourism Facilities Grants Programme, and will help extend the tourism opportunities on the West Coast. The Tourism Facilities Grants Programme was established to develop nationally significant tourism facilities that enhance the understanding and enjoyment of New Zealand by international visitors.

Mr O’Connor said Brunner Bridge provided access to one of the West Coast’s richest heritage sites and was also an important heritage attraction in its own right.

“I am thrilled that, following the completion of this project, full access to the site will be restored. Tour operators will be able to continue to use the bridge when guiding visitors around the Brunner mining site, providing our visitors with an insight into New Zealand’s pioneering days.

“I am pleased to be able to present a grant that recognises the contribution the Brunner Bridge makes to the experience of our visitors during their stay in New Zealand.”

The West Coast region is a developing tourism destination, which has good growth, particularly from the international visitor segment. The region's strengths lie in its abundance of natural and heritage attractions. Visitor numbers to the West Coast region are forecast to increase 32 per cent, from 850,000 visitors in 2001 to 1.12 million visitors in 2008.

International visitors will drive the growth, increasing 48% over the forecast period. Domestic tourism is forecast to increase by 16% over this same period. Mr O’Connor said the forecasted growth meant the demand for high quality tourism attractions would also grow.

“There is no doubt that this development will provide a key tourism asset for the West Coast, for both international visitors and New Zealander’s to enjoy.”

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