The Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key said that the government would invest in a spa city project as much as USD 256,000 in order to create more jobs and give a boost to the economy. Steve Chadwick, mayor of Rotorua and strong advocate of the project, welcomed the government’s move and said that it was in line with the Council’s vision of reclaiming the title 'Spa Capital of the South Pacific’ for the district.
Named as World Spa and led by World Spa Ltd. and Pukeroa Oruawhata Group, the estimated cost of the project is USD 7.3 million. The spa city would provide economic benefits of USD 26 million to USD 35 million to the country. Furthermore, a large part of the benefits would remain in Rotorua.
Peter Sharplin, the World Spa director, said that the spa would be way ahead of spas built till date as the project aims to draw inputs from international spa consultants.
Addressing a tourism industry conference TRENZ in Rotorua, Prime Minister Key said that the investment would come from Tourism Growth Partnerships fund. He added that the spa project to be developed on Rotorua's lakefront would consist of an international standard spa as well as a wellness complex. The goal of Rotorua Lakes Council is to ensure commercial spa visits of 1.5 million every year.
Peter Faulkner of Pukeroa Oruawhata Group said that the project would change Rotorua’s fortunes for the better. He also added that the spa, scheduled to become operational in 2017, would create 120 new jobs. The goal is to attract a large chunk of the 3.2 million people who visit Rotorua annually. As of now, the number of visits to commercial spas in the region is just 500,000 annually.
Welcoming the move Todd McClay, Rotorua MP, said that tourism contributes USD 366 million to Rotorua’s economy annually. According to McClay, the first stage of the redevelopment of the 11 hectares of prime lakefront land near the central business district would be the construction of the spa and hotel facility.
Steve Chadwick also noted that the government funding would further boost the work that has been progressing for some time now. He also said that central government’s investment in the project would serve to endorse the Council’s vision of becoming a world-class spa destination because Rotorua’s hot springs heritage can be traced back to the time of Maoris. Additionally, he noted that spa and spa-related businesses are huge and they have the potential to take the tourism industry to the next level.