Bay of Plenty's rapidly growing tourism industry is set to benefit with the implementation of a new regional visitor economy strategy.
The Bay of Connections Visitor Economy Strategy, which was released last week, will ensure the delivery of economic and community benefits across the whole region.
It comes alongside the Government’s announcement of $811,625 from the Provincial Growth Fund to support the development of detailed business cases for two key Rotorua projects.
The strategy has been in development for the past 12 months, and has involved Regional Tourism Operators, Economic Development Agencies, councils, key tourism stakeholders, Bay of Connections representatives and MBIE.
Bay of Connections co-chair, Graeme Marshall says he has been a staunch advocate of a joined-up regional tourism strategy for many years.
“The development of the first regional visitor economy strategy for the wider Bay of Plenty has been no easy feat, but its achievement is a reflection of the maturity of the industry and the great people working in it.
“Tourism growth does not come without its challenges and this requires comprehensive short and long-term planning. In particular, we need to enhance our core infrastructure and develop additional products if we are to remain a destination of choice for domestic and international visitors.
“It is critical that our region works together to identify and capitalise on the opportunities that are available. This collaborative approach simply makes good sense.”
Graeme says the strategy identifies a number of key tourism projects at a regional and sub-regional level which will deliver further growth and support the future stability of the industry.
“These include the proposed development of a Bay of Plenty regional cruise gateway and welcome hub, developments at Taupō Airport and its surrounding precinct, and potential waterfront opportunities in Whakatāne.
“Projects like these, in the four corners of our region, will be achieved by support from both the public and private sector.”
The strategy also identifies and supports two key projects in Rotorua – the redevelopment of Rotorua’s Lakefront, and enhancements and improvements at Whakarewarewa Forest.
Both have received initial funding from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund, announced today, for the development of detailed business cases to support the next phase of development.
Mr Marshall says in line with the core purpose of the visitor economy strategy, both projects will achieve significant benefits for Rotorua and the wider Bay of Plenty.
“We have proved that when a region works together, it can achieve great things.”
The regional and sub-regional visitor economy strategies are available here.