The recently announced Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund is set to boost visitors into the regions, with a total of 15 events from the Waikato, Rotorua, Taup≈ç, and Ruapehu regions to receive $1.6 million with the first round of funding.
Collaboration has been a big key catalyst for the wider Central North Island initiative with council and four Regional Tourism Organisations working closely together to develop a sustainable event ecosystem that delivers iconic events across the four regions of the Thermal Explorer area.
“The support from our neighbouring regions has been incredible and a vital component to attracting repeat and longer visitation to our region,“ explains Jo Kennedy, Visit Ruapehu general manager.
“Part of the funding Ruapehu receives will also go towards growing capability for events organisers and businesses in the region so there’s the added bonus of upskilling within our community,” adds Jo.
This first round of funding will support two major events for Ruapehu during the spring season with an exciting, new family oriented event to be held during the first weekend of October.
“We’ve listened to community feedback and recognised the opportunity to develop a major family friendly event in our region,” says Stu Robinson, chairperson of Ohakune Events Charitable Trust.
A headline act for the October event will soon be announced with the event promising to be an extravaganza of live music, main stage performances, local artists, carnival rides for kids, characters in dress up and food outlets showcasing the best of the region.
The second event to receive REF funding is a homegrown event with all heart – the iconic Tom Campbell Big Air Exhibition to be held during the last weekend in September.
“We are thrilled to have secured government funding for such an iconic event that holds huge importance for our crew, the local community and the snow sports industry as a whole. T≈´roa is the home mountain for Tom Campbell and securing funding means we can make this an annual event with longevity, stature, and magnitude,” shares Ros Cronk, events manager for Ruapehu Alpine Lifts.
“Funding will help to elevate and enhance the event, attract more spectators from outside the region and put T≈´roa back on the map for world-class events,” adds Ros.
The two major events secured for the last weekend in September and first weekend in October means back to back spring visitation for Ruapehu and a boost for the local economy.
“Spring is definitely a great time of the year to visit Ruapehu with the mountain still open for snow sports alongside the range of hikes, mountain bike trails and river activities in our region,” shares Jo.