Date: 17 June 2020
“With a 36% increase in overall bookings for all walks that opened, we couldn’t have hoped for better results,” says DOC Heritage and Visitors Director, Steve Taylor.
“Contrary to expectations—despite border restrictions and the devastating impacts on COVID-19 on so many New Zealanders—opening week bookings are significantly up on previous years. Results include a whopping 47% increase on our newest Great Walks the Paparoa Track and a 48% increase in bookings on the Heaphy.
Kiwis are being encouraged to support domestic tourism through Tourism New Zealand’s ‘Do something New, New Zealand’ campaign says Steve Taylor
“With 92% of these bookings made by Kiwis, it demonstrates a huge domestic appetite to explore our home and connect with our natural and cultural heritage.
“Compared to the same time last year across these eight Great Walks, 6,267 bookings have been made. That’s up 36% on last year and 92% of bookings have been made by New Zealanders which is up from 69% last year,” says Steve Taylor
“While these figures will change over the coming year, it’s incredibly heart-warming to see the sense of community and social responsibility that saw us save lives and shut down the global pandemic in Aotearoa, now being channelled into supporting the country’s recovery.
”Whether in Te Anau, Taupo, Westport, Queenstown or Nelson – those undertaking Great Walks will all be doing their bit in communities across Aotearoa, visiting food stores for much-needed provisions for treks, enjoying a well-deserved meal or coffee, or staying a night or two in local accommodation before or after undertaking the walk. Fees from Great Walks bookings, are channelled back into maintaining these premier, natural experiences,” he says.
“This time spent in nature is an investment in both our own health and wellbeing and our recovery as a country.”
While hut spaces on the walks are already at 75% capacity, Steve Taylor advises there are still opportunities if you are happy to camp or flexible with your dates.
Further Great Walks opportunities are set to become available as repairs progress on the world-famous Milford and Routeburn tracks. Bookings for these walks are projected to open in July/August 2020. Bookings for all other bookable DOC accommodation (outside the Great Walks) open next week on Thursday 25 June 2020.
“DOC manages around 1000 huts, 14,000km of walking tracks and 13,000 historic and cultural sites. These places belong to all New Zealanders and hold so many of our stories,” says Steve Taylor
“You don’t need to undertake a multi-day tramp, to enjoy these places - there’s something for everyone and every budget.
“If you are heading out into nature over winter, or at any point, remember to stay safe by planning beforehand, letting someone know your plans, checking the weather and track conditions, knowing your limits and taking the food, clothing and equipment you will need. Encourage your friends and whānau to do the same.”
The Great Walks are premium multi-day tramps (and one canoe journey) that showcase the best of New Zealand’s landscapes, and natural and cultural values. The walks are well-formed and have a high standard of tracks and facilities.
International visitor growth and promotion of the Great Walks through DOC’s partnership with Air New Zealand has led to Great Walks bookings greatly increasing since 2012.
DOC limits numbers on these walks to protect the surrounding environments and maintain a quality experience for visitors. This means, in a normal year, it can be difficult for individuals and groups to secure bookings over peak times on the most popular walks. DOC is working to address this through expanding the Great Walks network and investigating the use of pricing as a tool to manage visitor growth.
'Do Something New, New Zealand' is part of an ongoing stream of work from Tourism New Zealand that encourages domestic tourism. It will continue across the year with the aim of helping drive demand to our tourism sector right across New Zealand.
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