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Hon Mark Burton: Whitianga Scallop Festival

Whitianga Scallop Festival


Good morning, thank you for inviting Carol and me to be here with you today. It is my privilege to be here at the very first Whitianga Scallop festival.

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Good morning, thank you for inviting Carol and me to be here with you today. It is my privilege to be here at the very first Whitianga Scallop festival.

I would like to applaud all of you here today for coming out and supporting this great local initiative.

The future success of our tourism industry will, in significant part, depend on communities who build on their point of difference and then raise awareness of their area as a unique visitor destination. That is what you are doing.

Your innovation, and pro-active approach to attracting visitors to the area, will no doubt ensure the inaugural festival a success - and I am sure the first of many.

The Coromandel is a favourite summer holiday location for many travellers because of its appealing beaches and unspoiled marine environment. Whitianga's proximity to Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga also makes it a popular summer vacation spot for domestic tourists.

What this festival will demonstrate is that this beautiful area is attractive all year round. Whitianga has so much to offer, that visits here certainly should not be limited to the summer season.

In 2003, international visitors made 284,000 trips to the Coromandel region, spending $105 million. Domestic visitors made 1.8 million trips and spent a total of $280 million.

These figures indicate well the fact that tourism is one of this country's most important industries. To maintain it's popularity as a tourist destination, New Zealand's tourism industry has to continue to build on it's success.

We know that the visitors who come to our country are looking for unique, authentic experiences. Experiences that involve real interaction with our people and environments, and that is exactly what festivals such as this offer. Who would be able to resist a festival that focuses on Food, Wine and the arts?

I would also like to take this opportunity to present a tourism facilities grant of $40 000 to Frans van Hoppe, Chairperson of the Mercury Bay Regional Museum Development project, to go towards the building of an access ramp and navigators' exhibit at the museum. The Mercury Bay Regional museum is the Coromandel Peninsula's most visited museum.

I am sure that the upgrade will only further enhance the quality experience guests will have when they visit the Coromandel.

Once again, I would like to commend your initiative in taking a hands-on approach to attracting visitors to Whitianga. I welcome the fact that guests, both international and domestic, will now have a chance to get off the beaten track and discover some of the country's less explored places, during different times of the year.

Congratulations on making this festival a reality. I will look forward to attending it in years to come.

ENDS

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