More fund­ing for tourism


Tourism In­dus­try Aotearoa figures show that CluthaSouth­land has the sec­ond high­est tourism earn­ings in the coun­try, be­hind Auck­land cen­tral.

The yearly na­tional figures for do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional tourists by elec­torate up to De­cem­ber showed a tourism spend of $2,497,740,601.

Clutha-South­land MP Todd Bar­clay said guest nights in Clutha-South­land had con­tin­ued to grow, with 3,511,898 in Queen­stown in the year to March 2017, 640,199 in Fiord­land, 90,226 in Clutha, and 432,136 in South­land.

These figures co­in­cided with the an­nounce­ment last week of the Govern­ment’s $178 mil­lion tourism pack­age, de­signed to help fund the build­ing of fur­ther ameni­ties, such as toi­lets and carparks, which have been strug­gling to keep up with the over­whelm­ing de­mand of the tourist boom in re­cent years.

The pack­age in­cludes a $102m Tourism In­fra­struc­ture Fund and $76m fund­ing for the ‘‘DOC Es­tate’’, to help al­le­vi­ate pres­sure on pop­u­lar at­trac­tions.

This would in­clude Mil­ford Sound, part of the DOC Es­tate, which up to March had at­tracted 840,000 peo­ple.

The an­nual num­ber of ar­rivals would soon tip over the one mil­lion mark, Bar­clay said.

‘‘In that year, these vis­i­tors ar­rived in Mil­ford Sound in more than 70,000 camper­vans, tens of thou­sands of ren­tal cars, at peak times up to 95 buses per day, and we need to be able to sus­tain­ably man­age this. There is only one road in and out, and just six per cent of vis­i­tors ar­rived by air.’’

He has es­tab­lished an ini­tia­tive called the Mil­ford Op­por­tu­ni­ties Project, to help man­age Mil­ford Sound’s vis­i­tor growth in the fu­ture.

Bar­clay said the in­fra­struc­ture fund ini­tia­tive was good news for Clutha-South­land’s sparsely pop­u­lated towns and com­mu­ni­ties be­cause it recog­nised the dis­pro­por­tion­ate de­mands on in­fra­struc­ture gen­er­ated by high vol­umes of tourists.

‘‘A lot of our towns and com­mu­ni­ties ex­pe­ri­enc­ing this growth in Clutha-South­land have a limited abil­ity to re­spond to the pres­sures as­so­ci­ated with it be­cause of low ratepayer bases.’’

He had re­ceived cor­re­spon­dence from var­i­ous sec­tors of the com­mu­nity call­ing for the Govern­ment to in­vest more in lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture.

The first of two an­nual rounds will open later this year.

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