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More FITs Coming To Hanmer Springs

For immediate release, 14 June 2004


An increasing number of Free Independent Travellers (FITs) are arriving in New Zealand, traveling the country by themselves and getting off the beaten track.

Just released figures show a 16% increase in the number of international tourists visiting Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve in North Canterbury during the 11 months ended May 2004, when compared with the same period in the previous year.

The reserve’s General Manager, Graeme Abbot, says the rise reflects the increasing number of tourists coming to New Zealand, hiring a campervan or car and conducting their own tours of the country.

“We are not on a bus route so the figure reflects the significant increase in the number of Free Independent Travellers coming to New Zealand,” says Graeme Abbot.

Staff at the reserve have observed a huge increase in the number of campervans parked outside the thermal pools during the peak summer months.

“Even now winter’s begun campervans are still rolling up to the reserve – a few years ago that simply wouldn’t happen at this time of year,” says Graeme Abbot.

The number of European tourists visiting the reserve increased by 50%, North America and the UK were each up by 22% and 23% more Australians visited the reserve.

Statistics New Zealand figures show the numbers of visitors to New Zealand from Australia, the UK, America and Germany have increased, while our country is receiving fewer visitors from Asian countries such as Japan, China and Taiwan.

“This change in the origin of our tourists is one reason we are seeing more FITs. Traditionally, it is accepted Asian tourists are less likely to tour a country on their own whereas visitors from other countries often prefer to drive themselves,” says Graeme Abbot.

“The team here enjoys welcoming the wide variety of people visiting the reserve. It is fabulous walking around the pools and hearing several languages being spoken. We look forward to another increase next year.”


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