Tauranga City councilors are supporting Tourism Bay of Plenty’s bid for investment in the city’s tourist facilities. The draft annual plan, which will be going for public consultation, will include a proposal to pay $150,000 to revamp the portable i-Port tent. The tent is used to greet cruise ship passengers at the Port of Tauranga.

Other measures include increasing yearly operational expenditure funding to Tourism Bay of Plenty by $150,000 for the provision of visitor services.

It makes up a shortfall in funding caused by increased activity, particularly at the i-Port. The proposal is to pay for it through an increase of the targeted economic development rate on commercial properties.

The one-off $150,000 will also come from commercial rates. It will keep the i-Port operating for another two years while the rebuild at Salisbury Avenue and the provision of ‘satellie’ i-sites at Phoenix carpark and in downtown Tauranga are investigated.

The council is providing another $100,000 in 2016/17 to fund design and consenting work. This would be loanfunded and repaid through commercial rates.

Construction won’t start on the new i-Site until the viability of the proposal has been assessed. Tourism in the coastal Bay of Plenty is a $2.1 million a day industry, totaling over $760 million in visitor spend each year.