Continuing from TRM Daily Report yesterday…
TRM cannot include all the feedback but the following email from a West Island inmate is typical to illustrate the level of interest in this issue from across the ditch – why is this important? See the following schedule of where the tourists come from and why TRM love to promote to Aussies…
Australia 1,394,000 $2,441 m
China 410,000 $1,740 m
US 282,000 $1,064 m
UK 218,000 $ 958 m
Japan 99,000 $ 266 m
Germany 95,000 $ 557 m
Thanks for the great reports you post daily, I do enjoy reading them during my lunch time.
I am a keen fly fisher and an annual visitor from the West Island, more recently to the South Island, but I have fished in the area and stayed at your great place in the past….
I read with interest the article you posted about tramping and whether there should be charges/licences to walk official trails etc, and whether there should be a fee difference for foreigners versus residents.
Unlike some, I am very happy to pay a higher fee for my fishing licence than locals do. Why? I feel extremely lucky to have such a wonderful fishing paradise a mere 4 hours flight away and I treasure each annual trip which always give great memories. If continuing with this means I pay a bit more than the even luckier locals to keep coming back and finding the fisheries are still wonderful, then I am both happy and lucky indeed.
Your article raises a good question, if my preferred pastime is walking up rivers rather than walking up hills, why should one be free and the other not?
There are people employed, capital works undertaken, and infrastructure in place for both, but costs are only recouped from one group.
Will it hurt tourism? I don’t see how. Yellowstone National Park in the US has an entry fee for either cars or individuals ($30 for a 7 day pass for a car), Kosciuszko National Park in Australia is much more expensive to enter. Both are always buzzing from tourists during summer walking (and fishing) months.
So, why not look at a vehicle or access pass system, to capture the most famous and fabulous walks and let the user pay to keep the resource looking fantastic and being safe?
Thanks for listening and keep up the great work.
They have obviously been carefully studying TRM Daily Reports and concur with SWMBO’s sentiments… (SWMBO – She Who Must Be Obeyed – manages TRM and anything else in Turangi-Tongariro needing strong leadership)
Their sub-headings on the front page were:
“Kiwis are being crowded out of iconic locations”
“Is there a clever solution?”
The following are all extracts out of their feature as they apply to this Turangi-Tongariro region. They are very profound.
The editorial headed Stealing beauty compares other world tourist destinations like Barcelona and explains how tourism has ruined it for locals who have become victims to it’s beauty.
Anti-tourism sentiment has also emerged in other hot-spots such as Berlin, Lisbon, Hong Kong and Venice. NZ tourism will resist comparisons but the surge in tourist numbers has not been matched by investment in infrastructure.
NZ tourism supports 323,000 jobs (like mine?), accounts for more than 10% of GDP, foreign visitors bring in $14.5 Billion in earnings.
That’s BIG bikkies!
Free and open access to the outdoors is central to the NZ way of life, but the booming international tourism challenges that ethos.
Tourism, just like dairying, forestry, and fishing, has limits.
The beauty and diversity of our landscapes may feel infinite, but their capacity to tolerate unlimited numbers of people walking, camping, driving and excreting is not…
The Editorial ends up by commenting: “We need to make 2017 the year we start talking honestly about tourism, and what we, as New Zealanders, want from it”.
Then the excellent main feature article headed “PEAK PARADISE” by Rebecca Macfie confirms the tourism boom is overwhelming some of NZ’s most prized beauty spots and NZ’ers wanting to visit their own country are increasingly finding themselves crowded out of iconic locations – quote: “Nowhere is the pressure of the tourism boom more evident than on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.”
“The numbers doing this day walk through the spectacular volcanic landscape of the North Island’s central plateau have been growing at a compound rate of 9% a year, and have gone from 60,000 in 2007 to an expected 130,000 in the 2016/17 season….”
“More than three-quarters of those doing the track are international tourists.”
“It’s one of those places we are strangling the breath out of” says Bubs Smith of Ngati Hikairo ki Tongariro, one of 28 hapu within Ngati Tuwhareto…. Smith describes the toilet paper littering the terrain for 20m either side of the track just after it enters the bush on the final downhill leg to Ketetahi car park. etc… Toilet waste, the effect on tracks vegetation and the cultural effect of large numbers of visitors in an area of huge importance to Maori were the key issues identified.
The Conservation Act bars from limiting access and charging for entry into national parks. Options such as a ‘park & ride’ system, where visitors would pay to park their cars and then be transported to the track are under discussion.
Basically the tourism serge has caught the industry flat footed. Four of the industry’s biggest operators last year clubbed together to hire the global consulting giant, McKinsey & Co. to come up with ideas on how to cope with the coming growth.
Their report arrived at the conservative conclusion there was an immediate $100 million shortfall in key infrastructure – transport, toilets, car parks, sanitation and environmental protection.
It proposed that the funding gap be met by some of the billions collected in GST from international tourists ($1.14 Billion in 2016, up 0.4 % on the previous year) and through an increased departure tax and bed tax on accommodation providers (Don’t tell SWMBO!) including camper vans, cruises and Airbnb.
As it stands, tourists pay nothing to access the DOC estate unless they use the huts where fees are based on a cost recovery basis.
HOW DO WE COMPARE?
- $342/night for a bed in a lodge at Rocky Mountain National Park
- $127/night for a bed at grand Canyon National Park
- $54/night for a bed in DOC huts on the premier Great NZ Walks.
- $45/night for a bed in a spacious fully equipped comfortable two bedroom motel unit designed for four or more persons at TRM with free wifi, free laundry, free bikes, free dog to take walkies, etc. Extraordinary value! (SWMBO made me add that)
Veteran adventure tourism consultant Dave Bamford – one of the organisers of the 2016 conference at Mt. Cook – focused on the impact of tourism on sensitive natural environments, thinks there are only a dozen or so places accounting for 3-4% of the DOC estate that are under serious pressure – among them Milford, Tongariro, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, Huka Falls, Mt Cook and Cape Reinga. In these places he says, pilot schemes such as a park-and-ride system to control numbers and generate revenue should be introduced. “Let’s have some rangers at the Ketetahi end of the Tongariro Crossing road end…etc.
In the end that is just common sense. But it has not happened – yet… So what do you think? Email DOC now!