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Further research recommended on potential of Rocket Tourism

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Corporate & Strategic Committee is recommending further research be undertaken into the potential for tourism as a result of the establishment of a Rocket Lab at Mahia Peninsula.

Auckland-based company, Rocket Lab is proposing to launch medium sized rockets to deliver low orbit satellites for both commercial and government customers from Mahia Peninsula.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council agreed to co-ordinate and part-fund a scoping study to research tourism opportunities around rocket launches. Funding also came from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Hawke’s Bay Tourism, Wairoa District Council, and Gisborne District Council/Activate Tairawhiti.

The study involved interviews with locals, discussions with the Rocket Lab team and advice from local and central government. It found while observing rocket launches is likely to attract some additional tourists, it is difficult to quantify how popular it will be. It also noted further investment may be required for facilities and services, but noted local private operators are taking a “wait and see” approach rather than ramping up capacity in anticipation at this point.

A report presented to today’s Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Corporate & Strategic Committee meeting recommended the establishment of an inter-agency steering group to oversee and monitor the initial activity and undertake further market research.

Today’s Committee meeting endorsed that view and is recommending the Council contribute up to $20,000 to fund further market research on the rocket tourism and related infrastructure challenges and opportunities. The recommendation will go to the full council for confirmation later this month.

25 August 2016

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