Big plans: Destination Queenstown CEO Mat Woods, left, with Queenstown council's Michelle Morss and Lake Wānaka Tourism's Tim Barke

There are big plans for Queenstown tourism’s future, but where’s the money coming from to fund them?

Following council’s unanimous endorsement of the district’s Destination Management Plan (DMP) last Thursday, Destination Queenstown (DQ) boss Mat Woods says they’re still working to secure funding for upcoming projects.

Mountain Scene understands executing the DMP will cost DQ tens of millions of dollars to fully implement, though the exact amount’s still being calculated.

The regional tourism organisation (RTO) says its share of the cost will depend on which projects it completes, and which are carried out by other

DQ currently receives about $4.5 million annually from all businesses in town through a targeted tourism levy on commercial rates, collected by Queenstown’s council on its behalf.

That money funds Queenstown’s overall marketing and existing projects.

Woods says while he’s confident they’ll find the extra money, from either inside or outside their own organisation, implementing the DMP’s a long-term plan.

Last October, former Tourism Minister Stuart Nash told Scene RTOs would need to take a ‘‘recalibrated approach’’ to tourism with the funding they already receive.

Woods says DQ hasn’t had to reallocate its existing funding from other plans, noting the DMP’s a guiding document for both DQ and Lake Wānaka Tourism, and ‘‘there will be pieces [of the plan] we will have to go and find funding for, whether or not it sits inside or outside the RTO’’.

The DMP’s keystone project’s the carbon zero 2030 goal, the urgency of which is reflected by the ongoing extreme weather events in the North Island, he says.

Woods knows it’s a big job and an ambitious goal, but ‘‘we can’t wish our way out of it’’.

He’s also reassured by council’s solid support, referring to mayor Glyn Lewers’ call to councillors to take leadership and deliver on it at last week’s meeting.

Woods believes one of the biggest challenges will be setting up teams able to deliver and getting ‘‘the right people for the right jobs’’, so the 23 key projects can come to fruition.

While he’s got a vision for tourism’s future in the district, there are needs that have to be met, like a more resilient power supply if Queenstown’s to have more electric vehicles and the 2030 goal is actually going to be achieved.

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