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DOC visitor data shows high demand

DOC has released visitor data from selected popular public conservation areas for the year ending February 2020, prior to COVID-19 travel restrictions. This data suggests another year of high visitor demand.

Visitation to nine out of 15 sites had increased by at least five per cent over the past three years and nine out of 20 sites had increased by at least five per cent when compared with the previous year.

Some sites such as the Mangorei Track, in Taranaki and Blue Pools, near Wanaka, have had double the visits compared to 2016/17.

There was a decrease in visits at some places, often due to the impacts of extreme weather. Hooker Valley Track in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, Milford Sound/Piopiotahi and Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere had partial track or access closures which contributed to decreases in visitation.

“Since the impacts of COVID-19 we’ve seen a desire from New Zealanders to get out into nature. It’s fantastic to see so many New Zealanders making the most of their great outdoors this year and supporting domestic tourism across the regions,” says DOC’s heritage and visitor director Steve Taylor.

“DOC has been pleasantly surprised that the number of nights booked on the Great Walks so far this year are actually quite significantly up on last year – an unexpected 59 per cent. This doesn’t include the storm-damaged Milford and Routeburn tracks which will have a reduced walking season due to necessary repair work.

“Alongside increased extreme weather events, reduced numbers of international visitors and potential COVID-19 capacity restrictions in DOC huts over the coming summer season are all likely to impact this year’s visitor numbers and revenue.”

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