Events supported by Regional Events Fund attract visitors back to Te Tauihu

Events supported by Regional Events Fund attract visitors back to Te Tauihu

Written by Madeleine Melin

Posted on Monday 17 October 2022

Events supported by the MBIE Regional Events Fund (REF) are expected to draw over 25,000 out-of-region visitors to Te Tauihu over the next three years (until June 2025). 

"When the (REF) funds were allocated in 2020 to increase tourism from outside the region, COVID restrictions meant these events could not move to full delivery stage. It is great to see the events supported by the REF now taking place, including last week's Nelson Clay Week, which welcomed hundreds of out-of-region visitors to Nelson," says Fiona Wilson, CE of the Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA).

$1.5M was allocated to Te Tauihu in 2021/22 as part of the Government's Tourism Recovery Package, which was shared between nine International Marketing Alliance (IMA) groups of Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) in the country, based on their respective share of the international visitor spending before COVID-19.

"Events enhance the appeal of a destination and showcase our region to potential visitors and residents. The Te Tauihu Regional Events Fund has enabled the Nelson, Tasman, and Marlborough regions to support a range of new and existing events that celebrate and showcase Te Tauihu," says Samantha Young, Regional Events Advisor, Marlborough District Council.

The Nelson Tasman and Marlborough IMA have developed an investment plan on how the funding will be spent. The plan builds upon the established structures and strategic approach for long-term capability and capacity in the events sector. The focus is on events where the Te Tauihu region has an existing competitive advantage, including Food & Beverage, Sporting, Arts and Culture events. Business events, events already of scale and young events with potential scalability which complement the regional identity are also essential to reinforce and leverage competitive advantages. All events are required to be annual or biennial and scalable.

"By hosting events, we encourage more visitors to our unique destination. These events support hospitality, accommodation, retail, and other tourism activities and help to smooth seasonality of our destination appeal. We are pleased to work with event organisers and stakeholders to create unique events that will add to the vibrancy of our region in the coming years," says Rebecca Leach, Events Lead at Nelson Regional Development Agency.

All events are evaluated using an Economic Impact Assessment model before funding approval to determine the region's approximate return on investment. To measure the impact of the REF, the RTOs will ensure each event organiser completes a post-event report that includes measurables such as attendee numbers and subjective feedback. Economic, social and sustainability criteria measure the success of the funding.

NRDA, Destination Marlborough, NCC, TDC and MDC are working collaboratively, creating events across both regions, including tech, multisport, and food & beverage events that encompass both regions. As of this time, 32 events funded by REF are confirmed in the Te Tauihu region. The fund is closed to new applications due to full allocation until July 2023.