5 Sep 2023

Big changes on the cards for Milford tourism operators

From Nine To Noon, 9:30 am on 5 September 2023
A tourist sightseeing ferry boat travels down the calm, deep blue waters of Milford Sound in the remote Fiordland region in the south west of the South Island of New Zealand

Photo: 123RF

Tourism operators in Milford Sound face radical changes to the way they operate under a new proposal.

Government-funded initiative The Milford Opportunities Project, which is overseen by the Ministers of Conservation, Tourism and Transport alongside Ngāi Tahu, are pushing for a ban on all overseas drivers within the area.

They're also looking to ban fixed-wing aircraft in the area, going as far as removing the airstrip, and also banning cruise ships from the inner sound.

Milford Opportunities Project chair Bill Day says the current model is not working. 870,000 visitors go to Fiordland each year, often causing congestion on the single road in and out of Milford Sound.

Kathryn speaks with Bill Day, and Glenorchy Air co-owner James Stokes, whose company operates flights to Milford, and who fears it will turn visitors away from the area altogether.