Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry today announced funding will be made available for tourism infrastructure and cultural events as part of the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan.
The Action Plan was launched at an event in Gisborne today and articulates the region’s economic development opportunities for the next five years, including a focus on tourism. Key areas for development include:
- Māori and cultural heritage tourism
- Eco-tourism, including initiatives at Te Wherowhero Lagoon
- East Coast tourism, such as the historic East Cape Lighthouse and Tokomaru Bay wharf
- Cycle tourism
- Further research into cruise ship tourism
“Tourism has the potential to be a key driver of growth and jobs in Tairāwhiti which is why the Government is keen to work with the region to co-invest in Tairāwhiti tourism opportunities,” says Mr Bridges.
“The region is currently developing initiatives to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the first meetings between James Cook, Tahitian navigator Tupaia and the tangata whenua of Aotearoa. The Government is willing to contribute up to $2 million alongside local Government,” Ms Barry says.
“This commemoration from October to December 2019 provides an excellent tourism opportunity and we look forward to supporting the region in acknowledging these significant encounters.”
“The Government has already committed $3.5 million towards the New Zealand-wide First Encounters 250 voyage through its major events fund and is planning a flotilla, including James Cook’s Endeavour replica, to visit Gisborne and the other landing sites as part of the commemorative programme,” Ms Barry says.
The Ministers also welcomed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Activate Tairāwhiti and Air New Zealand which sets out an agreement to combine resources to grow Gisborne’s tourism strategy and increase Air New Zealand’s Gisborne seat sales, maintaining flight services for local businesses and residents.