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West Coast tourism receives government support

7 June 2006

West Coast tourism receives government support

The government is to provide funding for a major new tourism initiative on the West Coast of the South Island, Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard and West Coast-Tasman MP Damian O’Connor announced today.

"Over the next three years, the initiative will support existing tourism icons such as the glaciers district and Shantytown, and provide assistance to encourage the development of new emerging attractions and facilities," Trevor Mallard said.

Trevor Mallard said the objective of the initiative was to build a sustainable, world-class tourism industry in the West Coast region. The $2.5 million committed by the West Coast Development Trust is being supplemented by $2 million in government funding through the government's Regional Partnership Programme.

Damien O'Connor announced the initiative at Shantytown today, and said it was great news for West Coast communities, and for the tourists who travel there.

"By assisting local companies and agencies to partner in tourism development opportunities, the initiative will support the West Coast to build and sustain a reputation as a world class attraction on the international stage," Damien O’Connor said.

"The West Coast has experienced high growth in tourism over recent years and the major regional initiative is designed to ensure that this continues and translates into improved profitability for regional businesses."
The funding will be used for a variety of tourism projects ranging from the development of facilities, to product management and support for small and medium sized enterprises.

It is expected that the benefits will be spread through the whole West Coast region, which stretches 800 kilometres from Haast to Nelson and was recently rated one of the world’s top drives by international travel authority Lonely Planet.

Additional background information follows.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Regional Partnership Programme
The Regional Partnership Programme is the chief regional development programme of government economic development agency New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. The programme gives regions guidance and funding to develop and activate sustainable economic growth strategies.

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. This West Coast project is a Major Regional Initiative.

The West Coast Development Trust

Established in April 2001, the West Coast Development Trust is responsible for providing finance and development capital, advisory services, training and leadership, educational and skills initiatives, regional economic development and community distributions.

The Trust is currently governed by 12 Trustees (six appointed and six elected) who are drawn from a wide cross-section of industry sectors and are representative of the region. The management of the West Coast Development Trust is carried out by the Chief Executive Officer. WCDT staff assist in economic development and community projects, the development, analysis and monitoring of business applications, the promotion and marketing of the West Coast Region as well as liaising with clients and other organisations.

Tourism on the West Coast

In 2003, 532,000 international visitors made the trip to the West Coast region. They stayed for 1.3 million visitor nights and spent $170 million in the region. Total visitor nights are projected to grow to 3.4 million by 2010 (a 27.4 percent increase), with visitors spending $517 million. International tourists will account for 78.5 percent of the expected growth in total visits and 66.8 percent of the growth in total spend to 2010.


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