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Five regions backed to develop cultural tourism

Five regions backed to develop cultural tourism

Tourism Minister Mark Burton and Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Judith Tizard today announced that Nelson, Northland, Wellington, Hawke’s Bay, and Taranaki will receive support and funding to develop cultural tourism in their region. The regions were selected following an invitation in April for Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) to submit expressions of interest on behalf of their local cultural and tourism sectors. The response was strong, with applications received on behalf of 22 of New Zealand’s 26 RTOs.

Mark Burton is delighted with the result.

“Cultural tourism is viewed as a strong driver of tourism, both domestic and international. It was really satisfying to see that many of our regions are already working to develop the potential of this segment of the market.

“Building 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 phase in implementing the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010.”

Each of the selected regions will work with a facilitator, who will assist them in developing a plan for enhancing local cultural tourism. Once each region’s plan is approved, $100,000 will be provided for implementation. In addition, Tourism New Zealand will co-ordinate a promotional programme for these regional cultural products, providing trade and media marketing opportunities overseas and elevating consumer awareness of New Zealand’s cultural tourism experience.

Judith Tizard said that cultural tourism would benefit each region as a whole.

“I am extremely pleased by the high level of interest in cultural tourism right across New Zealand.

“The five regions that have been chosen have already shown that cultural tourism can work on every level. It helps people and communities to tell their stories better to people in their region as well as visitors.

“Jobs created in cultural tourism can be well-paying, satisfying, and long-term. In addition, they link up creative industries and cultural groups across the region.”

Dover Samuels also stressed the importance of a strong cultural tourism market.

“The development of cultural tourism offers a great opportunity for our communities to develop sustainable economic development models that are driven by the demand for Maori cultural interaction. In particular, our rural communities have the chance to package products that are both unique to them and attractive to the discerning traveler.

Mark Burton was impressed with the level of commitment to cultural tourism evident in the applications.

“We originally anticipated that four regions would be selected to take part in this initiative. However, all five of the successful regions had already established themselves as solid cultural tourism providers, clearly demonstrating the strategic thinking, strong networks, and investment necessary to advance cultural tourism in their region. After some discussion with my colleagues Judith Tizard, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, and Dover Samuels, Associate Minister of Tourism, it was decided to allocate funding to all five regions.

“This initiative will strengthen New Zealand’s tourism sector as a whole. It offers an exciting opportunity to enhance cultural tourism capability in the regions, as well as to build better mutual understanding between the tourism and cultural sectors.”

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