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Published: 2014-05-09 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council will take a closer look at how it might support tourism, the region’s second highest source of revenue.

At yesterday’s strategy and policy committee meeting, the council agreed to consider through the long term planning process how it might support tourism. 

It followed a presentation by Hamilton Waikato Tourism chief executive Kiri Goulter, who also provided information in regards to the Coromandel and Great Lake Taupo areas. 

“The number one reason people come to the greater Waikato is for our landscapes and our environment, and water quality is a key part of that,” Ms Goulter told the committee. 

She said tourism is the region’s second highest earner behind dairy, bringing in $1.8 billion – $340 million from international visitors and $1.46 billion from domestic travellers. 

Ms Goulter said cycling was one of the region’s increasingly popular drawcards as a result of its cycleways and newly-opened velodrome. 

She described tourism as the “shop window” to economic development. 

Tourism is recognised in the regional council’s Waikato economic development strategy, released in 2012. Regional development is one of the council’s five strategic priorities. 

“One of the challenges of tourism for local government is that it does require a collective investment. It is pleasant to see some investments in recent years are paying off,” said committee chair, Bob Simcock.

The review of the regional council’s long term plan is already underway, with a draft statement of proposal due to be released in March/April next year for public comment.