Tuesday, March 3, 2009

$60m tourism boost

Tourism bosses have been demanding an increase in the tourism budget and it would appear that their wish will be granted.

On top of the existing $85 million tourism spend it is proposed that a $60 million tourism fighting fund will be financed by taxpayers and private tourism operators.

Sadly, there has been no call from industry for a line by line cost benefit analyst of existing Government tourism expenditure.

It is unclear what proportion tourism operators will contribute to the proposed fund and what mechanism will be used to extract funding from them. For the tourism industry this may be a classic case of "be careful what you ask for."

It will be interesting to gauge the reaction of tourism businesses when they are "asked" to directly contribute.

The Dominion Post
02 March 2009

A $60 million bid to boost tourism is on the cards as tourism numbers take a hit from the global downturn.

The idea is among a list of the "top 20" ideas from the Government's jobs summit and comes as tourism numbers show a big decline in visitors from Britain and the United States.

The Government and private operators would contribute to the $60 million fund.

Subsidised airline tickets for travellers from countries such as Britain and the United States are also being suggested. Seats would cost no more than $500 for tourists from long-haul destinations, as long as they stayed a week.

Prime Minister John Key, who is also tourism minister, signalled his support for more spending on tourism at the close of the jobs summit on Friday.

"The tourism sector is an important part of the New Zealand economy and is a big employer. But also, getting people from overseas to come here and spend money is about the best form of economic stimulus I can think of. When visitors come here and spend money on food, petrol, accommodation, transport and entertainment, it's an injection of money into the New Zealand economy."

Tourist numbers took a hit in January a month after record numbers were posted for December. Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said the figures were unsurprising. Visitor numbers were down 3.7 per cent.

"The industry has been reporting for some time that there are fewer numbers of visitors booking from our key long-haul markets such as the United Kingdom."

Tourism NZ has launched a push in Australia in a bid to make up the shortfall.

The Government is promising to put many of the ideas from the jobs summit into action but Mr Key has also cautioned against those that are too costly.

He has already signalled plans, however, to fast track the Government's youth guarantee scheme, which will pay 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds a universal entitlement to free education or training, whether they receive it at high school, opt to go to a private training establishment, polytechnic or wananga or in an apprenticeship.
The scheme is estimated to cost $65 million a year.

Source: Click HERE

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