Applications have opened for the Innovation Programme for Tourism Recovery to support unique and transformative ideas to improve New Zealand’s tourism sector.
“We want to see projects that are sustainable, low carbon and that can deliver on our goals for a high skilled and high wage sector,” said Tourism Minister, Stuart Nash.
“Successful projects will need to make a real difference across Aotearoa-New Zealand visitor’s journey – from the moment someone starts dreaming of a trip to New Zealand, to arriving in our country and experiencing all we have to offer, to them returning home to tell others about their trip.
“COVID was a difficult time for the industry even with our support through the $400 million Tourism Recovery Package, and $200 million Tourism Communities Plan. I’m pleased that we are now at a stage where we are fully focused on a bright & innovative future for our tourism sector.
“We are already at 88% of International Electronic card transactions spend compared to 2019 and summer season has only just started,” said the Minister.
The $54 million Innovation Programme aims to support projects that:
- Reduce carbon emissions resulting from tourism or have a positive impact on the climate;
- Improve the environmental sustainability of tourism through enhancing our natural environment and biodiversity;
- Improve the resilience of tourism to future changes, impacts and shocks;
- Lift productivity or capability of the tourism sector through technology;
- Promote and protect Taonga Māori throughout the New Zealand-Aotearoa visitor journey (where the project is led or delivered by iwi / hapū or Māori enterprises).
The programme will be delivered across two funding streams. The first stream will be focused on discovery which will co-fund up to $25,000 for innovative ideas that may require further feasibility work to develop the concept.
The second stream will focus on development and will fund innovative projects that are ready to be delivered and have a full proposal and business case to support its delivery with co-funding between $100,000 and $10 million for successful projects.
“We welcome innovative and impactful ideas that are going to contribute towards bettering business models, processes and experiences for tourism in Aotearoa – from climate resilience to technological improvements. We also encourage ideas from other sectors that could make a transformative impact on tourism,” said Mr Nash.
The second phase of the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan, which focuses on addressing the environmental challenges and opportunities for tourism, has started with a draft action plan expected to be released mid-next year.
This phase of the encompasses three pillars:
- Climate change adaptation – understanding the impact that climate change will have on the tourism industry and taking action to ensure the industry can adapt to climate events;
- Climate change mitigation – transforming the New Zealand tourism industry into a low carbon emissions industry;
- Fostering positive ecological outcomes, such as biodiversity and ecosystem restoration.
“We want to ensure that the tourism industry has a positive impact on the environment which is critical to achieving a regenerative tourism model.”
“We expect that visitors are becoming increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their travel. It’s vitally important we continue preserving our natural environment as one of our key attractions as a world-class destination,” said Minister Nash.