10 Dec 2018

'Camp responsibly' campaign aimed at overseas tourists

8:45 am on 10 December 2018

Tourism New Zealand is asking international visitors to camp responsibly in its first foray into domestic marketing.

Freedom camping

The new campaign will focus on telling tourists their responsibilities in the New Zealand outdoors through iSITE information, free Wi-Fi, online ads and merchandise. Photo: RNZ

The new campaign will focus on telling tourists their responsibilities in the New Zealand outdoors through iSITE information, free Wi-Fi, online ads and merchandise.

There have been 10 new Wi-Fi hotspots set up throughout the country as part of the campaign with only a short video to watch before you can start surfing the net.

Scottish tourist Isla-Rae Gosling is visiting Dunedin with her father Gerard - who has been cycle touring and camping around the North Island for two weeks.

She watched the video - which tells tourists about 'leaving no trace'.

"It's a short and sweet video. What did the older lady say? We're guardians of this place," Ms Gosling said.

Ms Gosling said freedom camping is a big issue in Scotland.

"You can camp anywhere you want as long as you pick up your litter and leave it as you've arrived," Ms Gosling said before her dad piped in - "But they don't."

He said people left lot of rubbish around when they camped.

"It leaves a mess all over our country so coming here and not being able to do that. I think it's wonderful," Mr Gosling said.

Mr Gosling said everyone should be taking responsible camping seriously.

"It's taking responsibility for land you're on, because that becomes yours for the period of time you're there and you should leave it in a pristine conditions so the next person can enjoy exactly what you've discovered," Mr Gosling said.

The responsible camping campaign builds on the Tiaki - Care for New Zealand initiative, which asks visitors to care for people and the environment.

Tourism NZ chief executive Stephen England-Hall said international tourists were their focus, it was just targeting them after they land.

The campaign, like any other marketing push, was backed by research, he said.

"If managed well, tourism has the ability to enrich New Zealand and the lives of New Zealanders.

"This campaign complements the significant amount of work being done across the sector to ensure this is achieved," Mr England-Hall said.

"The campaign encourages people to plan their journeys, use facilities and leave no trace. It uses a range of tactics including free Wi-Fi to reinforce what we expect of campers and we are excited to see how it performs. A 'how to camp responsibly' poster and video has also been provided to industry, regional tourism offices and councils to utilise."

The campaign is a partnership between the government, Tourism Industry Aotearoa, iSITEs and some rental vehicle providers.

It's being paid for out of the government's $8.5 million dollar camping investment fund.

iSITEs across the country will be handing out recyclable ketes (bags) of camping knowledge and information from Monday morning.

Destination Marlborough general manager Jacqui Lloyd welcomed the campaign - saying visitors wanted to do the right thing and the campaign would show them how they can.

iSITEs would be crucial to the campaign by enabling people to ask the nitty gritty questions face-to-face, Ms Lloyd said.

"It's about really showing the face of New Zealand and talking to a person about something always really helps and makes sure the message gets through correctly."

Destination Rotorua visitor services executive manager Graham Brownrigg agreed, saying iSITEs were perfect to spread the message.

More than 1.5 million tourists visit an iSITE in Rotorua each year.

Mr Brownrigg thinks the campaign will make a difference.

"Our visitors love our country, they don't come here to destroy it.

"This is part of them realising that we know that they're here, we're helping them on their trip," he said.

There are free Wi-Fi hotspots in Akaroa, Bay of Islands, Cromwell, Franz Josef, Greymouth, Queenstown, Omarama, Picton, Rotorua, Westport and Whangārei.

The campaign is officially online today in time for the summer surge.

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