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Wanganui tourism initiative

Wanganui tourism initiative

The Wanganui/Rangitikei/Ruapehu region is set to receive $2million from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's Regional Partnership Programme to develop and promote the region's wealth of tourism attractions, Minister of Economic, Industry and Regional Development Jim Anderton and regional mayors announced today.

The region has vast tourism potential with mountains, rivers and national parks, a rich Maori and European cultural heritage and was the location for many scenes in The Lord of The Rings trilogy, seen by millions around the world.

"The focus of this Major Regional Initiative (MRI) is to build on these natural strengths and attract more international tourists to the region, to encourage them to stay longer and to spend more. We estimate that the growth generated will result in an increase of $10.2 million on tourism spend and nearly 160 new full time jobs.

"The funding will help the region develop an international marketing programme, which will publicise a touring route through the region, and also to develop new products to assist existing tourist operators," Jim Anderton said.

The touring route would be designed to divert traffic through Taumarunui, Ohakune, Waiouru, Taihape, Bulls and Wanganui, acting as the mechanism to deliver visitors to the region.

Another key feature is the implementation of a marketing strategy utilising both internet and print based initiatives designed to attract tourists to the region.

"The MRI has received good support from the industry and the three Councils, and very strong support from the twelve regional Iwi as they see it as an excellent vehicle for their entry into the tourism industry," Jim Anderton said.

The regions three mayors, Chas Poynter, Sue Morris and Bob Buchanan, released a joint statement applauding the initiative.

"We see this as the beginning of a long-term growth plan for the businesses and people of this region. The spin-off benefits in terms of skills development and training will be complemented by marketing strategies to establish ourselves as a world-class tourism destination.

"It's an inclusive and well thought out plan - everyone from local Iwi to tourism operators and partner businesses will benefit from an increase in economic activity."

"The regionally co-ordinated tourism model being followed here lays the foundation for strong long-term growth in tourism and related activities.

"This region has the potential to provide the kind of unique experience that today's high-yielding interactive travellers are after. It's an opportunity to capture the imagination, attention and loyalty of the new 21st century tourist," Jim Anderton said.

Editor's Notes

About New Zealand Trade and Enterprise New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is the New Zealand Government's trade and economic development agency, formed from the merger of Trade New Zealand and Industry New Zealand. Using its network of offices in New Zealand and around the world, NZTE works with businesses to help grow their international competitiveness, profitability and capability.

The Regional Partnership Programme The Regional Partnership Programme provides guidance and grants to help regions identify and develop sustainable growth strategies, and put them into action.

Funding of up to $100 000 per region per three years for strategic planning, up to $100 000 per 12 month period for capability building and up to $2 million for Major Regional Initiatives per three year cycle is available to help regions realise their potential.

There are 26 regional partnership groups who can apply for funding. The regional partnership groups include local authorities, economic development agencies, businesses, tertiary institutions, iwi and community organisations.

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