$100M needed to help tourism industry

  • 21/03/2016
$100M needed to help tourism industry

The Government's hint of extra toilets and parking for freedom campers has prompted a wider call for help from the tourism industry.

Prime Minister John Key told The Nation on Saturday there needs to be a discussion about whether more money is required to help areas where freedom campers are "dumping waste".

Mr Key, who is also the minister for tourism, said it was likely any money would go to small communities taking on a burden their ratepayers couldn't fund.

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Chris Roberts says the issue is much wider than providing toilets and parking areas for freedom campers.

The association wants the government to set up a substantial tourism infrastructure fund of up to $100 million for the "most pressing and deserving projects".

"New Zealand is welcoming a record number of international visitors this summer. It has been over a decade since we have seen double-digit tourism growth and we need to think about how we respond to this high growth environment, both as an industry and as a country," Mr Roberts says.

The Department of Conservation needs support to provide the infrastructure for visitors to the conservation estate.

Providing suitable facilities for freedom camping is part of infrastructure need, but should not be the sole focus, Mr Roberts says.

New Zealand is now receiving 3.2 million international visitors a year and just 0.4 per cent of them are freedom campers.

"TIA has already opened discussions with Local Government New Zealand about finding sources of funding for visitor infrastructure, and we are eager to work with central government on this issue," Mr Roberts says.