Industry News

Report on freedom camping recommendations positive

The Government’s plans to manage responsible camping recognise there are no simple answers, and will build on work the industry has already undertaken, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says.

TIA supports the Government’s Responsible Camping Working Group longer-term recommendations, and the immediate funding to be allocated to support infrastructure, enforcement and education this summer.

Minister of Tourism Kelvin Davis set up the Responsible Camping Working Group in April 2018 as a partnership between the government, local government and industry. TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts was an industry representative on the Group, which was tasked with providing advice on improving the way responsible camping is managed in New Zealand.

The report assesses the place of camping in New Zealand, and provides recommendations for creating a successful management system. It outlined longer-term solutions such as nationally consistent ‘camping zones’, legislative reviews and supporting regulatory actions, and short term actions such as marketing campaigns and funding for local councils.

The funding has been drawn from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund. It will be allocated to infrastructure, education and enforcement projects, a marketing and education campaign, and a data and technology-driven pilot.

Chris Roberts is pleased that the final report’s outcomes build on the work TIA has already done to lead the industry in managing the growth of freedom camping.

“TIA have been working on these issues for some time now, and the industry has done a lot of thoughtful research and policy development.”

TIA convenes the New Zealand Responsible Camping Forum, which brings together about 30 representatives from the public and private sectors, including rental vehicle operators, tourism associations, camping app developers, local councils and government agencies. The Forum has agreed on some key approaches for managing camping issues, which include a mix of good information, appropriate infrastructure and enforcement measures.

Over the last two summers, the Forum has run a very successful social media campaign, sharing information on camping that reached more than 605,000 people.

“Campers are an important sector of New Zealand’s tourism industry. They travel widely through the country, tend to stay a long time and spend money on a wide range of goods and activities.

“The funding allocated as a result of this report will complement the information resources TIA and the wider industry have created to protect and retain New Zealanders’ rights to access and use our public spaces,” says Mr Roberts.

TIA will shortly re-launch their Responsible Camping website, camping.org.nz, aimed at informing travellers to New Zealand about freedom camping regulations and resources. It’s been designed to act as a ‘one-stop-shop’ to help travellers camp responsibly.

“We look forward to continuing to work in this space to ensure New Zealanders and our international visitors can still choose camping as a uniquely Kiwi way of experiencing our country.”