Tourism Infrastructure Fund to refocus on Covid-19 hit regions - minister
A tourism fund to help local councils build infrastructure for visitors is set to re-open.
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said the Tourism Infrastructure Fund will now be prioritised for regions hardest hit by the fallout of Covid-19.
The fund last allocated money for councils in November 2019.
Nash said $13 million is expected to be allocated for the funding, although the final amount has not been determined.
"I have updated the criteria for projects to be prioritised by the fund. It will now better reflect the reality that jobs and businesses in some regions, particularly the South Island, are harder hit by the loss of international tourists than other regions," Nash said.
Applications from Kaikōura, Mackenzie, Queenstown Lakes, Fiordland and South Westland districts will be prioritised, he said.
Other regions are still welcome to apply.
"The projects will provide much-needed local employment as tourism towns work to diversify their economies. The new infrastructure will also ensure the quality of the visitor experience is improved for when tourists return in greater numbers," Nash said.
The Tourism Infrastructure Fund was established in 2017.
It provided money for councils to build and maintain assets such as public toilets, car parks, footpaths, waste disposal and water treatment facilities, picnic areas and freedom camping sites.
"Round 5 funding will ensure government investment in visitor projects can continue while we work to open quarantine-free travel with Australia, and other international connections when it is safe to do so," Nash said.
Applications for the fund open in April.