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Reimagining The Kiwi Road Trip

Kiwis encouraged to try out an electric vehicle and support sustainable tourism businesses in South Island through new Go Electric Eco Tour

Under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments, destination managers, operators and visitors across the globe have been called on to reimagine the tourism industry. From the formation of a global Future of Tourism Coalition to the recent launch of the Tourism Futures Taskforce interim report in New Zealand, sustainability advocates are demanding that we place destination needs at the centre of tourism’s new future. But what does this look like in practice in Aotearoa New Zealand? GOOD Travel and Eco Villa, two Kiwi social enterprises, have just launched their Go Electric Eco Tour to address this question.

“The idea for the Go Electric Eco Tour was born over Zoom during lockdown when I was reminiscing about an incredible road trip I’d done with my family. The intention of our trip had been to meet like-minded eco businesses in the South Island and we were so inspired by all the amazing accommodations and tours we came across. I wanted to share what we had experienced with others and find a way to support these businesses who, like Eco Villa, had invested so much into developing a sustainable business. I reached out to GOOD Travel, and the vision for the Go Electric Eco Tour was born,” says Nisha Duncan, founder of Eco Villa.

The Go Electric Eco Tour eGuide is a free, online guidebook designed to inspire Kiwis to try out an electric vehicle and experience unique, sustainable accommodations and tours in the South Island. The project is a collaboration between Eco Villa, GOOD Travel, Thrifty Car Rental, Camp Glenorchy, Olivers Lodge and Stables, Valley Views Glamping, SiloStay, Rainforest Retreat, Orari Boutique Heritage Hotel, Ziptrek Ecotours, Franz Josef Wilderness Tours, Glacier Valley Eco Tours, Bike It Now!, Pohatu Penguins and Ecoseaker. Every partner is a locally owned and operated company with a commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated to the tourism industry that we have to work together. The resilience of our industry relies on it. Our goal with the Go Electric Eco Tour is to strengthen collaboration amongst like-minded tourism SMEs as well as to continue to inspire Kiwis to explore our own backyard and learn from the places we visit. Ultimately, we want to show that doing GOOD, having fun and experiencing some luxury are not mutually exclusive, and we want to create an experience that is GOOD for Kiwi tourists, businesses, communities, and our environment,” says Josie Major, GOOD Travel’s New Zealand Programmes Manager.

Test drives and word-of-mouth are the main sources of information that help New Zealanders switch to electric vehicles, according to Flip The Fleet. However, few travellers dare to test out an EV on holiday due to range anxiety. Through an interactive online map as well as lots of EV tips and resources, the Go Electric Eco Tour eGuide will help Kiwis say farewell to range anxiety, try out an EV and experience the potential for New Zealand’s tourism industry to be a force for GOOD.

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