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Tourism grants for two Wellington attractions

Fri, 6 Aug 2004

Tourism grants for two Wellington attractions

Two Wellington tourist attractions today received grants totalling $96,000 from Tourism Minister Mark Burton to upgrade facilities. Local MP, Hon Marian Hobbs, accompanied the Minister.

Two Wellington tourist attractions today received grants totalling $96,000 from Tourism Minister Mark Burton to upgrade facilities. Local MP, Hon Marian Hobbs, accompanied the Minister.

The Wellington Museums Trust received $84,750 to help fund the expansion of the Cable Car Museum and the Carter Observatory $11,250 towards an interactive display that will let visitors experience a virtual fly-through the solar system.

The funding comes from the Minister's Tourism Facilities Grants Programme and will help extend the tourism opportunities in the Wellington region. The Tourism Facilities Grants Programme was established to develop nationally significant tourism facilities that enhance our international visitors' understanding and enjoyment of New Zealand.

The Cable Car Museum is constructing a new wing to house much improved facilities for the museum's audio-visual presentations, including the current historic footage of the Cable Car system and several additional presentations. The Museum will also exhibit a fully restored Grip Car 3 (c1905).

"This will allow the museum to accommodate its growing visitor numbers, provide better interpretation for the cable car system and provide an introduction to the Wellington Botanic Garden, as well as providing a suitable area to host tour groups and improve visitor access to the lower level of the museum," Mr Burton said.

"This is a 'must-see' for Wellington's domestic and international visitors and the project fits perfectly with the main objective of the Tourism Facilities Grants Programme - to enhance the understanding and enjoyment of New Zealand by our international visitors."

The Carter Observatory has undergone recent redevelopment involving the renovation of the dome room (now called the Geddes room) and the refurbishment of the historic Cooke telescope.

The second stage will create interactive experiences for the Geddes room, turning static displays, which explore the history of the telescope, the Carter Observatory, astronomy and the Solar System into interactive displays. One of the new exhibits will allow visitors to experience a virtual "fly-through" of the solar system.

"This high quality project makes the Observatory an ideal candidate for the Grants Programme," Mr Burton said. "By increasing the interactive features, you increase both the entertainment and educational potential of the attraction. But it will also increase the Observatory's appeal to New Zealand's ideal visitor - the Interactive Traveller.

"This attraction has the ability to provide these visitors with a unique perspective on New Zealand's identity and sense of place, not just in the world, but in the universe. Perhaps they can leave feeling like they haven't travelled that far to get here after all!" Wellington Central MP Marian Hobbs welcomed the grants as a valuable boost to the capital's ability to earn more from international tourism. Spending in Wellington is forecast to increase by 85% from $431m in 2002 to $797m by 2009.

"Every dollar spent by a visitor, be they Kiwi or Korean, helps create extra jobs and boosts returns across our region," Marian Hobbs said.

ENDS

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