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New tourism spa project to receive funding

Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key has announced that the Government is investing in a major new spa tourism project in Rotorua.

Through the Tourism Growth Partnership fund, the Government is investing $350,000 to support the development of a new spa complex on Rotorua’s lakefront.

“Tourism is a significant part of our economy and a major employer,” says Mr Key.
 “The World Spa project aims to develop an international standard spa and wellness complex on Rotorua’s lakefront. The Rotorua District Council has set a goal of 1.5 million commercial spa visits yearly, and the development of this new spa complex will certainly help with achieving that goal.”

It is expected that the new spa, a collaboration between the World Spa Project and Pukeroa Oruawhata Group will cost approximately $10 million to construct and it will be first stage of a multi-million dollar redevelopment of 11 hectares of prime lakefront property close to the CBD that will transform the central city and will attract more visitors to Rotorua.

The decision to fund the project follows a visit and presentation by Rotorua City Council representatives to the Global Spa and Wellness Summit in Morocco last month.

Grow Rotorua chief executive Francis Pauwels said Grow Rotorua involvement with the Hot Springs Alliance Group (HSAG), was a draw card for the 400 summit delegates.

“Over the past 12 months we’ve commissioned research across 16 countries, including 104 hot springs site visits and over 140 interviews, to analyse how the global hot springs bathing industry creates, delivers and captures value.

“The collective vision is to create world leading commercial hot spring bathing facilities in respective regions.

“The lead consultants on the HSAG project attended last year’s Global Spa and Wellness Summit (GSWS) in India and this made for a central focus at this year’s conference to further discuss the projects and put Rotorua on the world stage.”

The three day event was a platform to meet the world’s top spa and wellness industry operators, developers and investors and get them interested in visiting Rotorua to experience the abundance of geothermal spa and wellness opportunities in the region.
The Rotorua delegation at the summit included Mr Pauwels, Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick, Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust chairman Malcolm Short and HSAG team of James White and Charles Davidson.

Rotorua was the only destination at the summit presenting a city-wide vision, as other destinations generally opt to have one company in charge of development, Mr Pauwels said.

“Rotorua’s collaborative, citywide approach caught people’s attention including three of the world’s leading spa operators and investors, who are in discussions to visit Rotorua along with leading architects and urban growth experts.

Rotorua has also made a pitch to host the Global Spa and Wellness Summit in the future, which would see over 500 delegates visit for a week.

Mr Pauwels said the HSAG research and GSWS have clearly identified that the world is looking for spa authenticity – genuine cultural, interactive experiences in a destination that promotes clean living and is not overpopulated.

“Rotorua ticks all those boxes. We are lucky that the New Zealand and Rotorua brands are already very widely known,” he said.
“We can take the best of that international learning and create several outstanding spa and wellness experiences here – we’ve certainly got the resources to do so and most importantly willing and visionary landowners.

“We can’t compete with larger markets like Australia, USA or China. But if we play to our strengths, the spa developments here could be game-changers both for our international and domestic visitor markets, as well as creating hundreds of new jobs,” Mr Pauwels explained.

Grow Rotorua’s work has found that the spa and wellness sector has the potential to expand to $100 million, creating a direct economic impact for Rotorua and the creation of several hundred new jobs.

Mr Pauwels said the development of business cases is underway for new spa opportunities with potential private sector investment.

Source: Ministry of Tourism and Rotorua NZ 

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