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$158,000 BOP visitor economy funding announcement

A funding announcement that is set to better equip the wider Bay of Plenty region for increased visitors, has been made by government at the release of the 2016 Bay of Connections Yearly Report in Tauranga today.

The government will contribute $79,000 towards the visitor economy project, with another $79,000 contributed by the Bay of Plenty region.

The project is part of the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Action Plan, which is overseen by Bay of Connections, to develop four sub-regional tourism strategies – Western Bay of Plenty, Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Taupō – a regional strategy and a set of agreed regional priorities.

Bay of Connections Chairman Doug Leeder says the visitor economy has been identified as a sector that has the potential for significant growth across the wider Bay of Plenty region.

“A key focus in the Action Plan is the development of a collaborative regional tourism framework to support growth of the visitor economy to $2.5 billion by 2030.

“This is an ambitious – but realistic – target which can only be achieved through coordinated and aligned efforts.

“This is the first time the Bay of Plenty visitor economy sector has worked together in this way, and a steering group has been established with Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs), Economic Development Agencies (EDAs), and councils to support its progression.”

Visitor Economy workstream lead, Tania Bui says a number of workshops were held throughout the region to determine the scope and agreed approach.

“It’s important to emphasise that this is not about a joint marketing of the region – it’s about a combined effort to ready the wider Bay of Plenty to capitalise on New Zealand’s tourism growth.

“In particular, it’s about how the region is able to maximise the potential opportunities, created in some part by some of the constraints we are seeing elsewhere around the country in terms of capacity and infrastructure.

“Bay of Plenty visitor numbers are going to continue to increase, and we need to ensure that we’re ready for them with the right infrastructure, policies and assets, so they can stay longer in our region.

“It has been hugely beneficial and rewarding to connect the right people and approach. Knowing that the outcomes will supported by industry, iwi, RTOs, EDAs, and central and local government, makes the next phase easier to progress.”

Mr Leeder says the funding announcement is a significant milestone for the region, the tourism industry and for Bay of Connections.

“It’s the cherry on top of what has been a hugely successful year,” he says.

“The Bay of Plenty Action Plan commenced its implementation phase in 2016, which has seen the wider region and central government align activities and work towards a common goal, more than ever before.

“It’s imperative that we continue to build on, and maintain, this connectedness going into 2017 and what will be Bay of Connections’ first full decade of operation.

“The benefits of a growing economy have a positive impact on everyone in our region – from industries and businesses, right through to communities and individuals.

“With a more prosperous region comes a greater chance of better social and economic benefits, where we all stand to win.

“With nine years of work now under its belt, Bay of Connections is well and truly in a position to play its part in helping to build a more prosperous region.”

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

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