Young international visitors who like to free camp on their travels around New Zealand are being targeted with an informative social media campaign this summer to encourage them to behave responsibly.
The campaign is being mounted by the Responsible Camping Forum with funding from a dozen Forum members. It launched on 20 December 2016 and is targeting 18-35 year olds travelling in privately-owned and rented vehicles.
While the major rental vehicle operators provide camping information to their clients, providing private vehicle owners with good information has been challenging, Tourism Industry Aotearoa Advocacy Manager Steve Hanrahan says.
“At its last meeting in October, the Forum agreed to try a social media approach. We know this group are keen users of technology, so over the next 3-4 months, we’ll be using Facebook and Instagram to share information on where to camp and how we expect campers to behave.
Users can like, comment on and share posts. They can also write their own posts and tag the accounts, on Instagram with @campingnz and on Facebook with @campnz.
“We’ll be targeting information to appear when travellers need it most, around popular freedom camping sites, as well as travel locations like airports.”
The central message continues to be ‘Assume nothing – always ask’ before deciding to freedom camp. Two apps – Camping NZ and Campermate – offer excellent information, while i-SITE Visitor Information Centres and Department of Conservation Visitor Centres can also help.
“Most freedom campers – New Zealanders and international visitors – obey the rules and act responsibly. We hope this campaign will help campers by providing them with reliable information on local rules and camping etiquette when and where they need it,” Mr Hanrahan says.
The Forum has welcomed the newly released Department of Internal Affairs report on freedom camping bylaws and the work the Department is doing to support council management of freedom camping.
“With support from central and local government, we can work to ensure that campers behave responsibly and that free camping can continue to be an option enjoyed by both New Zealanders and our international visitors,” Mr Hanrahan says.