Date: 07 August 2012
The Department of Conservation (DOC) tender process for its concession opportunity to take visitors to Kapiti Island Nature Reserve, near Wellington has been completed and five of the tenderers have been invited to apply for a concession. They are Kapiti Heliworx Ltd, Kapiti Island Nature Tours, Kapiti Marine Charter, Kapiti Tours and Seal Coast Safari and John’s Hop on Hop Off City Tour.
The selected operators are offering a ‘one-stop shop’ experience for visitors. The experience being a comprehensive and complete service, comprising of marketing, booking, permitting, bio-security checks, transport, interpretation and the visitor experience promotion.
The chosen operators all met set criteria that demonstrated knowledge and experience in interpretation and cultural history. Their proposals had to demonstrate that the islands biosecurity and conservation values as a Nature Reserve would be maintained and/or enhanced.
Kapiti Island is one of a few island nature reserves in the country that can be visited, providing an opportunity for visitors to observe threatened species that are either very rare or absent from the mainland.
“We would like visitors to the Island to have an educational and memorable trip, and to leave knowing of the islands biodiversity and history,” said Kapiti Wellington Area Manager Rob Stone.
Currently an average of 8,000 people visit Kapiti Island each year, which falls well short of the annual number of permits available.
DOC will work with the successful licensed operators on initiatives that will give more permitted visitors the opportunity to visit and appreciate the island. These initiatives include a review of visitor access hours and a review of the daily limit of visitors.
“Any change to visitor access will be run through carrying capacity models to ensure they will not be at the expense of conservation values or the visitor experience”.
“DOC will work with operators to monitor biosecurity as part of the established island biosecurity plan”.
DOC spokesperson Rob Stone
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