Our tourism industry is thriving. With more visitors coming, staying longer and spending more, tourism is becoming an increasingly significant part of our economy. It’s now our second biggest export earner, and a major employer of New Zealanders. That’s why the National-led Government is committed to supporting this industry and ensuring all our regions benefit from it. Later this week, Finance Minister Bill English will be delivering our eighth Budget. In the lead-up to Budget 2016, I recently announced a $45 million investment into two initiatives to support tourism across New Zealand. The first is a $20 million fund to support communities to build small infrastructure projects to help them cope with the influx of visitors, and to promote New Zealand in key growth markets.
The second is a $25 million investment into the New Zealand Cycle Trail to ensure it continues to offer a world-class visitor experience. Both these investments will further support tourism’s contribution to economic and job growth in regions across New Zealand. This extra…… $45 million in Budget 2016 is in addition to the more than $130 million a year the Government already spends on tourism. We also support tourism in other ways such as funding major events, which help to attract high-value visitors.
Since 2013, the Government has invested $46 million in 58 events – including the FIFA under 20 World Cup, the Cricket World Cup and the World of Wearable Arts. The FIFA tournament alone boosted our economy by $30 million and attracted 3,600 international visitors. As well as investing in the sector directly, we are helping the industry attract the money needed to fund infrastructure. A group involving government and people from the tourism sector has been established to help accelerate investment. The group is working to identify opportunities to develop high-quality accommodation and to promote those to overseas investors. There’s been some positive developments in this space in recent months. Work is underway on a $200 million five-star hotel at a landmark site in downtown Auckland, one of the largest ever foreign investments into New Zealand’s tourism infrastructure.
Budget 2016, which will be delivered on Thursday 26 May, will focus on investing in a growing economy, while still ensuring we continue to support families and our most vulnerable people. New Zealand’s economy is performing well – we’re on track for annual growth of around 3 per cent for the next few years, which is helping to deliver more jobs and higher wages for New Zealanders. I look forward to letting you know about some more of the initiatives in Budget 2016 over coming weeks.