Date: 09 May 2019
Great Walk 2019/2020 bookings will open over several days from 11 June, starting with Heaphy and Milford tracks.
DOC accommodation prices on the Great Walks, will remain the same next season.
DOC's differential pricing trial, on Milford, Routeburn, Kepler and Abel Tasman Coast tracks, is being re-run for the next summer walking season (29 October 2019 to 30 April 2020). This will build on the department’s understanding and ability to successfully implement the use of pricing as a visitor management tool.
"The independent evaluation of the differential pricing trial found the trial met two of its three objectives – increasing access for New Zealand residents to the walks and international visitors contributing more towards the costs of the walks," says DOC’s Pricing & Economics Director, Laura White.
"However, the third objective – that the fee more fairly reflected the true value of these experiences – had a more mixed response. New Zealand residents generally supported it but international visitors less so. While we want to ensure access for New Zealand residents on these walks, it’s also important we listen to our international guests. Next season’s results will inform how we price our experiences longer term."
Key findings of the differential pricing trial for the 2018/19 season include:
- More New Zealand residents (27%) experienced the Great Walks (30% for the trialled Walks).
- Across the Great Walks network children of New Zealand residents have increased by 13% compared to 2017/18.
- New Zealanders made up 52% of bookings compared to 39% last year.
- Across Great Walks as a whole (including those not in the trial), bednights decreased 5% this season and international bednights were down 26%.
- The proportion of international visitors on the trialled walks who stated those walks were value for money decreased from 73% in 2018 to 63% under the trial.
The increase in revenue achieved through the trial is expected to be $2.4m (under the predicted $2.9 million due to the higher ratio of New Zealanders).
"The trial has been successful, with more New Zealanders accessing these walks, bringing in more revenue and providing a significant amount of information," says Laura White.
"However, we must be cautious in fully attributing these results to differential pricing as there are a number of other influencing factors (such as weather, a slowing in international visitor growth over the summer, and the short notice of the trial for visitors). This is why we will rerun the trial unchanged, for the 2019/20 season."
Bookings open for DOC's other bookable huts and campsites from 14 May. Opening dates vary for these facilities and are available on DOC's website.
As part of a planned pricing review, from 1 July 2019 there will be a $2 increase per night for adults staying at DOC’s Serviced (from $18 to $20) and Scenic (from $13 to $15) campsites. Children’s prices (half the adult rate) will increase by $1 per night. Standard ($8) and Basic (free) campgrounds and all hut prices remain unchanged.
"Increasingly New Zealanders and others want to connect with our natural and cultural heritage, and this means numbers at DOC campgrounds are also growing – around 7-8% each year over the last two years," says Laura White.
"DOC regularly reviews its prices to ensure they reflect the value of an experience and are equitable for New Zealanders and other users. Costs recovered go back into maintaining these facilities – ensuring DOC can focus its funds on its core conservation work. With the current mix of camping options DOC’s campsite and hut networks continue to cater for all budgets."
Great Walks 2019/20 bookings opening dates:
- Tuesday 11 June 2019, 9.30 am
- Milford Track
- Heaphy Track
- Wednesday 12 June 2019, 9.30 am
- Routeburn Track
- Paparoa Track
- Thursday 13 June 2019, 9.30 am
- Abel Tasman Coast Track
- Kepler Track
- Tongariro Northern Circuit
- Friday 14 June 2019, 9.30 am
- Rakiura Track
- Lake Waikaremoana Track
- Whanganui River Journey
Differential pricing trial
See Great Walks differential pricing trial for further information including a differential pricing trial 2018/19 Great Walks summer season factsheet and evaluation report for the first half of the season.
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