• A sublime day on the Milford Track.
    A sublime day on the Milford Track.

An initiative by the Dept of Conservation (DOC) to control visitor numbers on some of NZ's Great Walks has been seen as a success.

The seven-month trial (from October 2018 to April 2019) sought to provide information on the effectiveness of pricing as a tool to manage visitor pressure.

Basically international visitors have to pay almost double the price for camping and huts fees as NZ citizens.

The results show a 37 percent increase in New Zealand adult bookings and a 10 per cent increase for New Zealand children. International adults and children dropped 31 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.

The number of New Zealanders across all Great Walks increased by 27 per cent. The trial has been labelled a success by DOC, and has brought in $2.4 million more than last 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."

For booking on any of NZ's Great Walks click here.

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