Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult has expressed delight at an $8.5 million grant from the central government’s Regional Events Fund.
The grant will support the staging of events in Wānaka, Queenstown, Central Otago, and Fiordland, which were considered together as the Southern Lakes Alliance.
Boult said the work of the Mayoral Taskforce for Tourism and Short-term Recovery identified events as the most effective way to encourage New Zealanders to visit the region more regularly.
“The QLDC team and I have invested a considerable amount of time and energy into lobbying for the creation of a fund such as this, and to say that I’m happy would be a massive understatement,” Boult said.
“Whether it’s sporting events, art exhibitions, celebrations of culture and heritage, weddings, music or dance, an event in this part of the country is made extra special not only by our stunning natural landscape but by our people who are some of the most skilled hosts and event organisers you’ll find anywhere.
“That the government recognised the value of events in supporting an economy such as ours is fantastic. Equally, that the Minister saw fit to award $8.5 million of the fund to the Southern Lakes is truly a show of confidence in the ability of our region to recover and once again become a major contributor to GDP.”
Boult said the grant will provide the opportunity to bring high-quality events south while also supporting jobs in tourism.
“I would like to thank the government for listening to us and assure them the money will be well spent in aiding the economic recovery of the district,” he said.
“During these tough economic times, this has come as a much needed, and much appreciated, hand up.”
The Regional Events Fund is part of the government’s larger Tourism Recovery Package and was created to help drive domestic tourism in key areas throughout the country.
Read edition 992 of the Wānaka Sun here.