Council congratulates Ruapehu Alpine Lifts

Press Release – Ruapehu District Council

Council congratulates Ruapehu Alpine Lifts on official opening of new tourism assets Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron, Chief Executive (CE) Clive Manley, Councillor Kim Wheeler and Visit Ruapehu Chairperson Peter Till and CE Claire McKnight had the pleasure …Council congratulates Ruapehu Alpine Lifts on official opening of new tourism assets

Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron, Chief Executive (CE) Clive Manley, Councillor Kim Wheeler and Visit Ruapehu Chairperson Peter Till and CE Claire McKnight had the pleasure of supporting the official opening of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) Rangatira Express Chairlift and Snow Factory by Prime Minister Bill English at the Whakapapa ski area on Mt. Ruapehu today.

The opening of these new assets are part of a $100 million investment strategy in the redevelopment of the Whakapapa and Turoa ski areas by RAL over the next ten years that will take RAL from a four month winter business to a sustainable 12 month year round business.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by Economic Development Minister Hon Simon Bridges, the MP for Taupo Hon Louise Upston, and the MP for Rangitikei Ian McKelvie.

Guests at the opening heard from RAL CE Ross Copland speak about RAL’s other planned developments aimed at extending and redefining the Ruapehu experience they can offer.

This will include a $25 million multi-purpose facility at the base of the Whakapapa ski area (Top of the Bruce), an 80 person, all weather, high-speed aerial tramway accessing the award winning Knoll Ridge Café, the doubling of snow making capacity at Whakapapa, two new chairlifts and the redevelopment of beginner facilities.

Prime Minister English made special mention of the way relationships and history with Ruapehu iwi was being crafted into a progressive and forward-looking view of what the region and the people of the region could achieve.

“This has been critical to this investment,” he said.

Mayor Cameron said that events such as today captured the excitement and promise for regional tourism development and Ruapehu’s economic future.

“The Snow Factory and the planned aerial tramway are quite simply ‘game changers’.”

“Not only for Ruapehu and the region but New Zealand tourism,” he said.

“The Snow Factory will enable RAL to guarantee an opening date for the Whakapapa Ski Area and extend the ski season by a month while the aerial tramway is a key part of RAL becoming a sustainable year-round business.”

“RAL stated they currently attract around 350,000 visitors to Ruapehu during the four-month ski season and believe that with the aerial tramway they could attract another 350,000 over the other eight months of the year.”

“These investments are a vote of confidence in the growth and development of Ruapehu tourism, and the opportunities and benefits this can bring to local communities, the region, and New Zealand.”

“Council commends RAL for this confidence and undertake to do all we can to support the successful implementation of their investment and growth strategy.”

“We are committed to working closely with tourism operators such as RAL along with other regional partners, government, iwi, and others to unlock the region’s tourism potential.”

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