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June 2019 Issue
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Great Walk trial sees Kiwis up and internationals slump

More Kiwis are walking the Routeburn Track now that DOC has introduced differential pricing. Photo: Matthew Cattin

DOC’s differential pricing trial has seen more Kiwis and fewer international visitors booking the four affected Great Walks.

The trial saw international visitors pay around double the amount New Zealanders are charged for accommodation on the Abel Tasman Coast Track, Milford

Track, Kepler Track and Routeburn Track over the 2018/19 Great Walk season.

The results show a 37 per cent increase in New Zealand adult bookings and a 10 per cent increase for New Zealand children.

International adults and children dropped 31 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.

The number of New Zealanders across all Great Walks increased by 27 per cent.

The trial has been labelled a success by DOC, and has brought in $2.4 million more than last season.

DOC pricing and economics director Laura White said the department is cautious about attributing the results entirely to the differential pricing, as weather, slower international visitor growth and short notice of the trial may have been influential.

The question of whether the fee fairly reflected the true value of the Great Walk experience has had a mixed response.

“New Zealand residents generally supported it but international visitors less so,” White said. “While we want to ensure access for New Zealand residents on these walks, it’s also important we listen to our international guests.

“Next season’s results will inform how we price our experiences longer term.”

The trial will continue unchanged into the 2019/20 season and DOC does not currently intend to increase prices of other Great Walks.

Pricing for the Paparoa Track, due to open in December 2019, is yet to be confirmed.