Date: 14 July 2013 Source: Office of the Minister of Conservation
The number of people doing New Zealand’s nine Great Walks has increased by a record 7500 in the past year, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.
“This record increase in the number of people doing the Great Walks is great news for conservation and tourism. It means more people are enjoying our National Parks and increased jobs and economic activity in regional New Zealand,” Dr Smith says.
The growth from 79,366 in 2011/12 to 86,873 in 2012/13, or 9.5 per cent, contrasts with static numbers over the preceding six years. The growth ranged from 19 per cent on the Kepler, 17 per cent on the Routeburn, 14 per cent on the Whanganui, 12 per cent on Lake Waikaremoana, nine per cent on the Rakiura, eight per cent on the Heaphy, six per cent on the Abel Tasman, to one per cent on the Milford. The Tongariro Circuit numbers were static due in part to the disruption from the significant volcanic activity.
“I particularly want to encourage growth on Great Walks like the Whanganui Journey, Lake Waikaremoana, and the Heaphy that are significantly under- utilised in preference to those like Milford and Abel Tasman that are at near to full capacity.
“This weekend I’ve been in Karamea doing the Heaphy Track with my family. This small community is reaping real economic and job benefits from the significant increase in the number of people using the track.
“This record growth can be clearly attributed to the Great Walk promotions with Air New Zealand and the new partnership approach over the past year by the Department of Conservation. The new website, inflight safety video and profiling of the Great Walks in Air New Zealand’s inflight magazine has been a huge success. It shows what is possible when DOC partners up with organisations with complementary expertise.
“DOC is working with regional tourism organisations and other key stakeholders to build on this success and intends launching a new range of walking tracks later this year.”
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