After their most successful summer ever, holiday park operators are being warned to prepare for an even busier peak season in 2016-17.
At their annual conference in Rotorua this week, 300 members of the Holiday Accommodation Parks Association of New Zealand (HAPNZ) heard that guest nights at holiday parks grew 8.5% to nearly 7.4 million in the year to March 2016.
“Our percentage growth exceeded that experienced by the hotel, motel and backpacker sectors,” HAPNZ President Lisa Cornelissen said. “March alone delivered growth of 35%.”
All the signs are for an even busier and longer 2016-17 season, with the World Masters Games in Auckland in April 2017 and the Lions tour during June and July, she said.
“So it’s encouraging to see park owners seizing the opportunity to invest in their properties. From the large-scale pool development at the Taupo TOP 10 Holiday Park to the many refurbishments and developments happening around the country, it’s clear that there is confidence in the good times ahead. It’s also great to see many parks investing in training for their staff, with 86 people signed up to the ServiceIQ Visitor Experience programme.”
Chief Executive Fergus Brown said members’ business confidence is high.
“Most trade exhibitors at the conference reported roaring business, with park operators keen to upgrade their facilities before summer,” he said.
“But we’re also reminding our members to look after themselves, and take this opportunity to have a break and recharge their batteries.”
Freedom camping remains an issue of concern to holiday parks, Mr Brown said. HAPNZ opposes freedom camping being permitted in urban areas or close to commercial holiday parks, and made submissions on 11 freedom camping bylaws in the last year.
HAPNZ is a strong supporter of the New Zealand Responsible Camping Forum which is led by Tourism Industry Aotearoa and includes representatives from rental vehicle operators, councils and other interested organisations.