The country’s Prime Minister John Key, once a Tourism Minister, says small communities with tourism potential will be earmarked in his government’s current round of spending.
More than 3.17 million visitors visited New Zealand last year and now the government is planning to invest in local tourist meccas in a bid to expand the industry. Image by Jocelyn Kinghorn / CC BY-SA 2.0
The New Zealand Herald reports that he will make the announcement at a time when tourist leaders and operators have called for improvement in toilets, roads, car parks and other facilities.
The Tourism Industry Association (TIA) welcomes the help to smaller communities but stressed that there was a greater challenge facing the industry.
Chris Roberts, Chief Executive of the TIA said there was an urgent need for adequate water and sewerage systems to meet the needs of locals and visitors to those off-beat areas.
By investing heavily in marketing the country as a visitor destination, the economy had witnessed excellent financial returns.
It now needs to follow that on by providing support to ensure international visitors have a great experience to report when they visit New Zealand, he added.
According to the authorities, the tourism sector will continue to grow and is in a strong position to appeal to several different international markets over the next six years.
It is expected that visitor numbers will grow by over 5% a year. If this happens, it will see a jump from 3.1 million last year to 4.5 million tourists by 2022.
That would see spending by international holidaymakers reach $16 billion within that timeframe, representing a 65.5% rise from last year’s figures.
Australia is currently New Zealand’s biggest market but China is also seen as a key player in the country’s future tourist plans.