Queenstown Lakes visitors invited to help fund region’s climate and conservation goals

The Love Queenstown and Love Wānaka funds will raise money for local climate, conservation and biodiversity initiatives Photo: Paragliding over Queenstown and Lake Wakaitipu

Visitors and businesses in the Queenstown Lakes are being invited to help fund the district’s goal to become regenerative and carbon zero.

Destination Queenstown and Lake Wānaka Tourism officially launched community funding platforms on Tuesday.

The Love Queenstown and Love Wānaka funds will raise money for local climate, conservation and biodiversity initiatives and help to connect visitors to projects they can volunteer with.

It was the first project from the district’s regenerative tourism strategy, which was endorsed by the local council earlier this year.

Destination Queenstown chief executive Mat Woods said there were many passionate people wanting to act but they did not know where to begin.

“While we don’t have all the answers, we believe that the answers are out there, and we are committed to being a place that is understanding of the level of urgency and that is willing to experiment and learn,” Woods said.

“No matter how big or small, donations will help support existing projects, as well as new ideas and new technologies.”

Participating businesses will have both physical and digital points where donations can be made, and installations at the Queenstown Airport will detail these initiatives and how visitors can get involved.

Chief executive Glen Sowry said it was important to show the progress from idea into action.

“Everyone remembers the beginning and the end of the journey, and we want to make sure that’s done really well, and we create the opportunity to create value for the fund, and that people feel a real desire and ambition to give back,” Sowry said.

Lake Wānaka Tourism chief executive Tim Barke said organisations and individuals were working on decarbonisation, but often they needed more resources to scale up.

“One project or one organisation can’t do it alone, so this funding will go towards supporting an entire ecosystem that works together for the greater good of this place and the planet,” Barke said.

“Collective action is how we change systems, and together, we are powerful.

“The wairua (spirit) created by this landscape is what shapes the visitor experience and connects everyone who visits whether for a few hours or a lifetime. This is often referred to as the kaupapa of tiaki and as visitors to this place we all have a responsibility to take up the challenge of being good ancestors.”

The funds will be spent exclusively in their region of origin, with some set aside into an endowment fund for long-term, future funding opportunities.

Article Source: RNZ

Investment into film, food and beverage sectors in Central Otago

The Government is continuing to invest in projects in Central Otago Districts as part of an ongoing strategy to develop alternative industries which are not tourism focused.

Mark Neal, Marketing Director and Daniel McLaughlin, Managing Director of Scapegrace, with Head of Kānoa, Robert Pigou.

On Thursday, 23 March 2023, Regional Development Minister Kiri Allan announced a $2.9 million convertible loan from the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund for Scapegrace Distillery, as well as an underwrite of $4.5 million to support Silverlight Studios.

Scapegrace will use the funding to increase capacity to meet growing national and international demand for their high quality, boutique products and consolidate their three New Zealand productions sites into one. They also aim to reduce emissions through deploying an electrode boiler, an energy efficient way of creating process heat without the use of fossil fuels.

“This investment supports our goal of supporting local businesses to do great things for local economies. The further development of the food and beverage industry in Central Otago will add to the region’s international brand reputation,” said Kiri Allan.

The expansion of Scapegrace Distillery will create 218 jobs during construction and they expect to employ a further 24 permanent roles for ongoing operations. Around 70% of their stakeholders are in the Otago region, meaning that international success will be felt locally.

Central Otago is already world-renowned for its viticulture. The goal is that further development of the food and beverage industry will add to the region’s international brand reputation.

Minister Allan also announced that Government has approved an underwrite of $4.5 million to support Silverlight Studios through the Queenstown Economic Transformation and Resilience Fund. This investment will help Silverlight with operational costs, once the first phase of their project has been constructed.

The screen industry employs approximately 16,200 New Zealanders and contributes $3.3 billion to the economy every year, making it a key component of the Lakes District’s economic diversification initiatives. A key driver of both investments is to support the district to attract more talent to higher wage and higher value roles.

Article Source – Grow Regions

Applications invited for $54m fund for tourism initiatives

Main image Shotover River Jet, Arthur’s Point, Otago: A Ngāi Tahu electric jet boat was unveiled for a trip on the Shotover River in July, as part of the iwi’s plans to adjust to climate change.

A multi-million dollar fund is now available for innovative tourism projects to help the industry become more sustainable and resilient.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said the $54 million programme would support unique and transformative ideas to improve the sector.

The Innovation Programme for Tourism Recovery was announced earlier this year and aims to support projects that are sustainable, low carbon, help the industry to become high skilled, high wage, promote and protect taonga Māori, and improve resilience and productivity.

“Successful projects will need to make a real difference across an 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,” Nash said.

“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.”

There will be two funding streams, with applicants needing to co-fund at least 50 percent of the feasibility project costs.

One stream will co-fund up to $25,000 for innovative ideas that may need more feasibility work.

Projects will be assessed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment monthly between December and May, with providers of proven business cases invited to submit for the other stream of funding.

The second funding option will develop ready-to-be-delivered projects for which the government will co-fund between $100,000 and $10 million per project.

There is $49 million available split between three funding rounds in February, June and October with applications closing by November next year.

If applicants can demonstrate a significant positive community or sector-wide benefit, they may be eligible to receive up to 75 percent co-funding.

Full applications will be assessed by the ministry and an expert advisory panel, but the final funding decisions will be made by the tourism minister.

While Covid-19 had been difficult for the sector, Nash said they were now at the stage of focusing their attention on a bright and innovative future for tourism.

“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,” Nash said.

A draft action plan for the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan focusing on addressing the environmental challenges and tourism opportunities is expected to be released by the middle of next year.

Article Source: Crux