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Regions to benefit from tourism boost

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/05/2016

Regions struggling to cope with an influx of tourists will be the main beneficiaries of a $20 million budget boost for the tourism sector.

Prime Minister John Key says much of that new funding will be spent on setting up a new regional mid-sized tourism facilities fund to help communities with small infrastructure projects to cater for growing numbers of independent travellers and freedom campers.

The $12m fund won't just mean more toilets, but more signage and parking facilities, Mr Key said.

The move's been welcomed by Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule, who says it will go some way to help local authorities facing infrastructure stress.

However, his organisation will continue to push for more long term, sustainable funding for tourism infrastructure.

"It will be important that visitors pay their fair share for use of facilities provided by councils to support New Zealand's successful tourism industry," Mr Yule said.

The May 26 budget would also include an extra $8m over four years for Tourism New Zealand to target key growth markets such as India and the eastern seaboard of the United States, which had huge potential.

The government already spends $130m on the tourism sector.

The government's latest forecasts show the tourism industry is expected to grow by 65 per cent to $16 billion by 2022.

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