Regional Events Fund Aims to Stimulate Domestic Tourism

Intended to support the tourism and events sector and replace some of the spending from international tourists due to the border closure because of COVID-19, a $50 million Regional Events Fund has been created, designed to stimulate domestic tourism and travel between regions through holding events.

Tourism New Zealand research indicates that up to one-third of domestic travel is primarily driven by people looking to participate in events. This research also highlights how New Zealanders intend to spend more on domestic holidays including events and provides confidence that domestic visitation will grow especially as outbound travel is in decline.

The Fund has been split across International Marketing Alliances (IMA) groupings based on their share of international visitor spending prior to COVID-19. All nine Regional Investment Plans have been received, reviewed against the criteria and approved.

Under this model, MBIE is not making decisions on which events are funded. Each IMA grouping has the autonomy to determine the mix of events that best meets the regions’ needs over the next two to four years.

The Regional Events Fund can be used for some or all of the following activities:

  • Event funding for new and existing events that drive inter and intra-regional visitation.
  • Capability or capacity building for event management (e.g. manage event programme) for a Lead Entity or Panel Member.
  • Fund management/secretariat.
  • Event strategy development.
  • Event feasibility studies and event development.

Regional Events Fund funding cannot be used:

  • For events which do not drive out of region visitation (for example, a community farmers market, annual Santa parade). This is because these sorts of events do not provide significant flow-on benefits to tourism operators in regions, such as those in the accommodation and hospitality businesses.
  • For destination marketing, as the Regional Tourism Organisation funding through the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme covers this activity. However, marketing for specific events is permitted.
  • As a substitute for existing committed funding (from Local Government or Trust Funds that significantly contribute to regional events). However, it can be used to provide additional scale to an existing event.
  • To competitively bid with other regions for the same event.

For more information and funding allocation, click here.