The Government is investing $14.9 million in tourism infrastructure and cycle trails around the country, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has announced.

$14.2 million has been awarded to various local councils for 30 visitor-related infrastructure projects and four feasibility studies.

“We need to make sure we have the basics right – so that visitors continue to have high quality experiences at every point of their holiday and want to return,” Mr Davis says

“Increasing tourist numbers, while good for New Zealand, is putting pressure on infrastructure in many areas around the country. The projects selected for funding are essential for some of the communities that really need help to develop infrastructure – those places with high numbers of visitors in comparison to ratepayers, for example.

“As a starting point we are co-funding carparks, toilets and other facilities in popular visitor spots from Kaimaumau, north of Kaitaia, to Lumsden in Southland. It includes co-funding for a new carpark and toilets to support the growth of tourists at Mt Taranaki’s Pouakai Crossing trail; facilities at Blackball on the West Coast to support the planned Paparoa and Pike 29 Memorial tracks, and a new carpark and walkways at Lake Tekapo’s Church of the Good Shepherd.

“Other areas require more significant infrastructure. In Hanmer Springs the wastewater system will be upgraded, in Gisborne new carparks and walkways will be constructed in preparation for the 250th commemoration of the arrival of James Cook, and in Tauranga enhancements will be made to provide safe public access to the bottom of Omanawa Falls.”

This investment is made through the first round of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund. A second $10.7 million funding round is expected to be held in early 2018.

A further $700,000 will be invested in the upkeep of seven Great Rides of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail.

“We know that Nga Haerenga is delivering significant economic benefit to communities around the country – $37.4 million per year according to the latest estimate,” Mr Davis says.

“These trails are becoming an important part of New Zealand’s tourism offering, drawing high-value visitors off the beaten track and helping provide employment and new business opportunities for our regions. We want to ensure that they are well looked after.”

The investment comes from the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund, which aims to ensure New Zealand’s premier rides are maintained to their current world class standard.

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