Continuing the tourist industry issues from TRM Daily Report yesterday:
DGLT (Destination Great Lake Taupo) Strategy Document 2016:
Great Lake Taupö is a thriving tourism destination where people can experience one of the world’s most unique and picturesque areas. Close to 1.3 million visitors help drive Great Lake Taupö’s economic success by directly spending half a billion dollars in the region every year. In addition to this, the flow on impact of tourism spend is estimated to be another half a billion dollars.
The Great Lake Taupö region has a permanent population of 35,600. When this is considered alongside the magnitude of our visitor numbers, it is clear that tourism is a driving force in our economy. Tourism currently provides 35% of jobs in our workforce and 25% of our GDP, but there is still significant potential to grow tourism further. The industry now needs to debate whether future growth will occur incrementally, whether there is a desire for a more radical transformation, and how we want growth to occur.
OK? Understood. Tourism is very important in a cute little tourist town. Economically it is everything we rely on so we need to protect it. But look what is happening at one of our most popular key iconic tourist spots…
Thank you to Murray Wilson for following images.
Photos of Kiki enjoying the crossing are from TRM of course…
Following from facebook illustrate the problems at the Southern Mangatepopo end where most people start and where shuttle buses do their drop off.
Most park at the finish and get a shuttle to the start.
So if you imagine the following photos indicate a shambles, we regret it is far worse at the finish.
On the mid-week day these images were taken – 9 am on Thursday 5 January – the security team estimated over 5000 walkers with over 300 cars parked at both the start and finish along the road sides (i.e. excludes those in car parks).
It may be acceptable for Jafas who are used to parking and traffic jams (?) but we cannot afford to mislead and upset so many other tourists.
Tourists had no idea from any of the booking offices about the shambles with crowding and waiting and queues and access and parking issues.
Something really has to be done by the Council and/or ‘authorities’ to control the numbers and send the overflow to any of the many other walking tracks around the central plateau. If tourism is our biggest industry then we cannot afford to continue to operate a shambles like this on NZ’s most popular one day walk.
DOC – who have their signs all over the track so must be responsible for the management of the track (?) must do something to manage the numbers better – not reduce them but provide more infrastructure!
TRM and other motels persevered all last summer season fielding continuous complaints but nothing has changed. TRM was asked for a solution? TRM are not qualified to comment as the Tongariro Crossing is a major earner for all local tourist accommodation suppliers.
Understandably SWMBO (Manager of everything at TRM) would not want to do anything to affect Her 100% occupancy since Christmas.
Instead we asked for opinion from a major tourist sporting shop owner with more experience than us in tourism matters. He says the only realistic solution is to ban cars on the access roads and restrict them for shuttle bus use only, operating a pick-up and drop-off from the huge Turangi CBD car parks. They could easily cope with the volumes of traffic. That seems a sensible compromise to avoid further traffic jams. Watch this space…
What do you think?
(Below is a repeat of the TRM Daily Report for 6 September 2016)
National guest nights were up 11.9 percent.
North Island guest nights were up 13.3 percent, and South Island guest nights were up 9.5 percent.
Domestic guest nights were up 10.9 percent, and international guest nights were up 13.7 percent.
Compare – TRM guest nights for June were up 25 percent. (but that might reflect SWMBO’s management? Or the fishing?)
All 12 regional areas had more guest nights.
All four accommodation types had more guest nights with holiday parks up a significant 26%. etc…
But now the sudden growth problems are emerging – such as on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing…
Above – Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Is this crowding and delays what tourists really expect? We have to do better than this…
Tourism congestion: How do we protect our pressure points:
Now the latest TOURISM BUSINESS magazine has featured and confirmed the problem under the sub-heading:
How do we protect our pressure points:
They feature the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (“TAC”) which now suffers from crowding an unacceptable crowded queues and delays and parking hassles as the number of walkers has increased fifty percent – from 80,000 to 120,000 in the past three years says DOC’s Whakapapa conservation services manager, Paul Carr.
TRM were reluctant to complain about the TAC as it is such an important tourist attraction for Turangi.
We understood the crowding has increased ever since the 1970’s when Lonely Planet editor – Tony Wheeler – first visited this area and walked the TAC .
The rest is history. It has been on everyone tourist’s bucket list ever since.
But now excessive tourists have become a major problem. i.e. “At the TAC car parking is a shambles “ complains one guiding concession operator. “On busy days cars are parked up on the curbs and along the roadside for several km at Mangatepopo and all the way to the main road from Ketetahi, and that’s with 75% of the walkers travelling by shuttle buses from local towns. It’s a dog’s breakfast.”
The whole experience has become a ridiculously congested tourist trap. About fifty companies operate bus services to the car parks. The Mangatepopo car park was expanded in 2010, the road is graded about eight times each year. etc…
It is out of control. So you have been warned…
The TRM alternative options on our website are far better.
1 Start with the one hour circuit on the Tongariro River Trail providing wide views over Lake Taupo and Turangi;
3 Then travel on to the Whakapapa Village and finish the day with the two hour circuit to Taranaki Falls – see images on right from under the waterfall…
A much better choice with five hours of walks with more variety and options not so dependent on weather conditions and away from the crowding and parking hassles.
Other more challenging options might include two hours climbing an unmarked track up Mt. Tihia. There are just so many other similar really memorable walks in virgin bush around the Turangi Tongariro region – most of which are never used by tourists. i.e. Tree Trunk Gorge to Pillars of Hercules? Waihaha Trail? Taranaki Falls? Boyd Lodge to Oamaru Hut? Yet most tourists have never heard of them. This is where the tourism operators have failed to do their duty…. It has been easier to just shunt them all on to the Tongariro Crossing.
Or for a real challenge away from the queues – they should be sending them to the “BIGGIE” – see video below.