The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing nearly $18 million in a region wide collaboration to connect the area’s tourist attractions located in Haast, Hokitika, Greymouth and Westport, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced in Hokitika today.
“The Te Ara Pounamu pathways project will receive $17.87 million to support the roll out of state-of-the-art innovative digital technology to tell the West Coast’s unique cultural and historical stories, for the first time, to Aotearoa New Zealand and the world,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.
“Four new ‘visitor experience centres’ in separate locations across the West Coast will support the region’s tourism operators, boost sustainable employment, and provide upskilling opportunities for local people.
“This is just one of a number of projects in the West Coast that we are working on together to help support job creation and a sustainable tourism industry.
“Over 50 jobs will be created through the construction, management and operation of the hubs.
“We know that by investing in the West Coast tourism sector now, the region will be in a strong position, not only to tap into the domestic tourism market, but also be ready for when international visitors return.
“By working across the region’s councils and with local iwi, this initiative will encourage visitors to spend more, travel further, and stay longer in the region.
“The digital nature of the hubs also ensures that content can be continually adjusted according to the needs of the tourism sector.
“The first hub will start to be built in Haast later this year, with all four expected to be completed by 2023.
“It’s great to back again on the West Coast. To date, the PGF has funded $145.2 million for projects in the West Coast region.
“I’m pleased to be supporting this latest investment in a project that will boost the West Coast region by diversifying its economic reliance on mining and agriculture, and put the region in a strong position over the long-term to capitalise on future tourism,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.