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Council Establishes A Major Events Fund For Horowhenua

Attracting Major Events to the district is estimated to boost the local economy, providing a return on investment upwards of 11:1 according to a report heard by Council at Wednesday’s Council Meeting.

Council have voted unanimously to establish a Major Events Fund, making $50,000 of Central Government Better Off Funding available to support major events in the district. The fund aligns with Council’s top ten priorities and comes off the back of the Horowhenua Blueprint 2040 and the Horowhenua Destination and Development Plan 2020-2030.

The Horowhenua Destination and Development Plan 2020-2030 found that between 2016–2019, Horowhenua visitor expenditure growth outstripped New Zealand (organically). The findings of this plan, recommended that targeted investment in Horowhenua destination development should be viewed as a critical element of the district’s future prosperity, with the expansion of the events marketing programme identified as an important mechanism for attracting visitors to the district. The Horowhenua Destination and Development Plan anticipated this investment would see the economic contribution of visitor spending double to $200m by 2030 (approximately 10% growth per annum).

Council launched the refreshed Horowhenua brand and Destination website in October 2022, accompanied by an always on marketing strategy. Elected Members heard that marketing activity to date had driven 141,000 website views to from 78,000 people.

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Visitor spend in the district totalled $140m as at November 2023 according to MBIE, an increase in growth of 12.9% against the previous year, with accommodation spend up 45% and arts recreation and visitor transport spend up 42% against the previous year.

“Attracting visitors to our district is one way Council can help support local businesses and enable a vibrant local economy. The establishment of a Major Events Fund, coupled with the work we’re doing in both the Destination Management and Levin Town Centre Transformation space all signal a deliberate shift on behalf of Council to make the most of the opportunities that the visitor sector and in particular the Ōtaki to North of Levin Expressway will provide our community,” comments Mayor Bernie Wanden.

The Major Events Fund includes a framework that Major Event organisers can apply to, for support to run their event. The fund also provides for events that may not qualify as a Major Event but have the potential to transition into a major event over time. Now that Elected Members have endorsed the fund, Council staff will work to set the fund up over the coming weeks.

If you are a Major Event organiser and you think your event might qualify for funding, please reach out to Council to for more information.

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