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Motorhome Friendly status - a tourism boost for two towns

Motorhome Friendly status - a tourism boost for two towns
South Taranaki towns Hawera and Opunake were officially welcomed into the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association’s nationwide Motorhome Friendly scheme today (3 August) at a reception at the South Taranaki District Council.

A delegation of Taranaki NZMCA members met with South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop and councillors to hand over two certificates to the Council acknowledging Hawera and Opunake as New Zealand’s 46th and 47th Motorhome Friendly towns.

It’s a move which is set to provide a healthy boost to tourism spending in the town and surrounding area, says NZMCA CEO Bruce Lochore.

The two new locations bring the number of Motorhome Friendly towns in Taranaki to three (the other being Stratford), and along with the two NZMCA Parks in the region (in Hawera and New Plymouth) demonstrate the Association’s drive to share the benefits of Motorhome Tourism, without adding extra strain to local facilities or heaping extra costs on local ratepayers.

“Our members enjoy the South Taranaki district and travelling here in Certified Self-Contained vehicles, and staying (when possible) in our own NZMCA Parks will take pressure off local facilities while still bringing Motorhome Tourism dollars into the area,” says Mr Lochore.

“In saying that, it’s important to stress that all this is being done at no cost to local ratepayers. The establishment of the Parks and the promotion of the Motorhome Friendly towns is funded entirely by the NZMCA. The result is a win/win for everyone,” he says.

“For Hawera and Opunake, official recognition as Motorhome Friendly will encourage more of our members and international visitors to stop, stay and spend. And for motorhomers, the towns’ status as Motorhome Friendly is a clear indication that they can expect a warm welcome.”

Mr Lochore explains that the Motorhome Friendly status offers significant economic benefits to participating communities by attracting more NZMCA members and other tourists in Certified Self-Contained vehicles.

“At a time when tourism in this country is enjoying an unprecedented boom, we believe it is vital that the benefits are not confined to the traditional tourist ‘hotspots’ but are shared with Councils and communities nationwide,” he says.

“Our aim in establishing the scheme was to help rural and provincial communities throughout New Zealand get a fair share of tourist spending. That’s why the NZMCA has invested more than $1.3million and committed significant resources over the past three years to encourage our members – and other Motorhome Tourists – to get off the beaten track in their travels.”

Promotion of the Motorhome Friendly towns to the NZMCA’s 74,000 individual members is free to the locations and is based on the organisation’s purpose-built website www.mhftowns.com and via its popular member magazine, The Motor Caravanner.

“NZMCA members love to travel and enjoy a wide range of events; airshows, music festivals, wine and food festivals, cycle rides, fishing contests, walking weekends, gardening festivals – you name it,” says Mr Lochore.

“To encourage more attendance at such events, we have initiated a calendar of activities and events – which we have worked with to ensure they all offer free or low-cost overnight parking nearby - to promote to our members. This offers a great opportunity for communities like Hawera and Opunake to jump on board with their events and share in the benefits.”


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