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Ruapehu welcomes Taupo Airport upgrade as critical for visitor growth

Ruapehu has welcomed the announcement of $5.9m of Government funding toward the upgrading and expansion of Taupō Airport by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones.

Mayor Don Cameron said this was exciting news for the Central North Island.

"We would like to thank the Minister for his commitment to unlocking this investment despite the reported opposition from officials to funding some provincial airports," he says.

"Successive governments have invested in regional growth in recognition that an essential component to building a more prosperous nation requires building successful and more resilient regions.

"This has seen millions invested into regional growth studies and programmes that all clearly identify the importance of integrated, high quality transport infrastructure as a critical enabler of growth.

"In Manawatu-Whanganui with the support of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment we are currently implementing the Ruapehu Regional Visitor Development Plan with the goal of generating $400m in visitor expenditure by 2028," says Don.

"Reaching the $400m mark is dependent however on maximising the benefits from creating new visitor experiences and services which will not be possible without the necessary investment in supporting infrastructure.

"Investment in transport infrastructure provides an incentive and the confidence to existing tourism operators to invest for growth and new operators to establish themselves," he says.

Visit Ruapehu general manager Jo Kennedy says that they were excited about the opportunities that the investment in Taupō Airport will bring for cooperative promotional campaigns.

"We have previously enjoyed success in promoting the Ruapehu region with regional, business and government partners using Taupō as the gateway," she says.

"This has included joint venture campaigns involving Taupō District Council, Tourism NZ, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, Auckland International Airport, Air NZ and others.

"In addition to allowing for bigger planes bringing in more people the upgrade will significantly enhance the all-important visitor experience," she says.

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