The government’s tourism infrastructure fund has reopened and priority will be given to the regions hardest hit by a shortage of overseas visitors.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash announced this today in Kaikōura.

The fund was established in 2017 and was last allocated in 2019. This is the fifth round of funding. It has been realigned to take into account the impact of Covid-19 on tourism.

The final size of the funding pool has yet to be determined but is expected to be between $ 13 million and $ 18 million, he said.

“I have updated the criteria for projects to be prioritized by the fund. This will now better reflect the reality that jobs and businesses in some regions, especially the South Island, are more affected by the loss of international tourists than in others.”

Applications from the districts of Kaikōura, MacKenzie – Aoraki Mt Cook, Queenstown Lakes, Fiordland and South Westland will be prioritized.

“All councils can continue to apply if they lack sufficient sources of income to support visitors, such as when they have a small interest payer base. Community groups supported by the councils can also apply.”

“All applicants are asked to demonstrate the need for support for the visitor infrastructure.”

He said the funding will ensure government investments in visitor projects can continue while they work to open quarantine-free travel to Australia and other international routes when it is safe to do so.

“The projects will create much-needed local jobs as tourist cities work to diversify their economies. The new infrastructure will also ensure that the quality of the visitor experience is improved when larger numbers of tourists return.”

Applications for the fund will be made next month.