The Government will invest $76 million through Budget 2017 on new and upgraded tourism infrastructure for the Department of Conservation as part of a $178 million tourism infrastructure package, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.
“The new funding will allow DOC to better manage the impact of visitor growth, while also protecting our biodiversity and threatened species,” Ms Barry says.
“The DOC estate is our biggest and best-known tourism asset and this funding increase means DOC can upgrade and develop tourist facilities and expand the great walks network.
“This new investment will enhance the quality of experience at those sites most loved by kiwis and international visitors, while also shifting awareness to the paths less travelled.”
“We know there are plenty of new locations that could easily support more visitors, relieve pressure on hotspots and develop a bigger share of the regional economic benefits of tourism,” Ms Barry says.
The Great Walk network of premier multi-day tracks that allow visitors to safely access and enjoy our spectacular and diverse landscapes will be expanded with two new Great Walks.
“Along with the Paparoa Great Walk these new Great Walks will mark the first expansion of the Network in around 25 years. DOC will run a contestable process to select the best locations and work with partners to co-fund these walks,” Ms Barry says.
“We will also develop a network of Great Short Walks and Great Day Walks.”
“Increasingly people enjoying New Zealand’s parks and conservation areas want activities that can be done in a day or less. Great Day Walks and Great Short Walks will give people more choices.”
“Overseas visitor numbers are set to reach 4.5 million by 2022.
“Our outstanding natural landscapes are the reasons why so many local and overseas visitors holiday in New Zealand. This package will allow many more people to enjoy a high quality visitor experience in New Zealand’s parks and conservation areas Ms Barry says.
The Budget 2017 tourism infrastructure package is part of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda and the Regional Economic Development programme.
The funding is made up of $44.6 million operating funding over four years and $31.3 million capital and includes:
- $23 million for improving visitor experiences throughout New Zealand.
- $11.4 million for improvements to DOC’s online services to the public and introduce more customer focused technology and a new booking service.
- $12.7 million towards the expansion of the Great Walks network.
- $5.7 million to develop Great Short Walks and Great Day Walks.
- $19.8 million for upgraded tourist facilities.