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YHA And DOC Promote Sustainable Tourism

Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints. That’s the message from the New Zealand Youth Hostels Association and the Minister of Conservation, encouraging track walkers to bring their rubbish out of the New Zealand bush.

The YHA is printing plastic rubbish bags for the Department of Conservation to distribute to people going into the bush, helping to minimise the amount of rubbish tarnishing New Zealand's clean green image.

YHA New Zealand hosts 430,000 overnight stays for visitors to New Zealand and 70,000 overnights for New Zealanders per annum.

“While record visitor numbers are very positive for the country and the economy, there is a down side,” says YHA General Manager Len West.

“The rubbish bags are one of the ways we are looking to reduce the impact of thousands of travellers on our precious natural resources.”

The Minister of Conservation, whose department has to pay thousands of dollars a year to have rubbish collected and air lifted out of the bush, has welcomed the move.

“It provides a low key but firm message to visitors to be responsible for their own behaviour and to help preserve our environment for other people to enjoy,” says Conservation Minister Sandra Lee.

“It’s great to see the YHA involved in a project to protect our conservation heritage.”

The YHA has been actively working towards a cleaner environment for several years, through the development of energy efficient Sustainable Living Centres, a comprehensive recycling programme and a nationwide clean-up programme.

The YHA's Len West sees the rubbish bags as another way to put something back into the environment that attracts so many visitors to our country.

“The bags mean that visitors will be able to experience first hand, the emphasis that the YHA puts on a clean green environment,” says Len West.

“The bags will reduce the amount of rubbish left in the bush making the walking tracks a better experience for everyone,” says DOC's technical officer for visitor services in the southern region, Paul Dale.

“This initiative will enable everyone who uses our natural resources to play a part in protecting them,” he says.

The plastic bags will be sealable and printed with a 10 point Environmental Care Code and ‘carry out your rubbish’ message.

The bags will be distributed through DOC Centres and all 57 YHA hostels nationwide.


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