A social media campaign targeting young freedom campers is proving highly successful in its first month.
The CampNZ Facebook page has gained almost 10,000 followers who are provided with reliable information on local rules and camping etiquette when and where they need it.
The campaign is being mounted by the Responsible Camping Forum with funding from a dozen Forum members.
It is targeting 18-35 year olds travelling in privately-owned and rented vehicles. While the major rental vehicle operators provide camping information to their clients, providing private vehicle owners with good information has been challenging, Tourism Industry Aotearoa Advocacy Manager Steve Hanrahan says.
“This social media campaign has tapped into a need for this type of community and information, and it’s incredible to see the momentum so far,” Mr Hanrahan says.
“We are excited to see the information on where to camp and how we expect campers to behave is being shared widely by campers themselves.”
An Instagram account, CampingNZ, has also been set up as part of the campaign. The focus for the next stage of the campaign is to increase the followers to this page.
“We had a record day on 1 January, reaching 86,500 people with all combined social media content,” Mr Hanrahan says.
“While there are still some hotspots where more work is needed to ensure local communities are happy with camper behaviour, overall we believe that freedom camping is creating fewer problems this year than in the past. This is due to a combination of tactics, including improved council facilities and monitoring, more education of campers, and technology helping them make better choices.”
Two apps – Camping NZ and Campermate – offer reliable information to help campers decide where they can stay, while other technological initiatives around the country include solar-powered compacting rubbish bins and ground sensors to alert potential campers when sites are full.
“Most freedom campers – New Zealanders and international visitors – obey the rules and act responsibly. With support from central and local government, the Responsible Camping Forum is working to ensure that campers behave responsibly and that free camping can continue to be an option enjoyed by both New Zealanders and our international visitors,” Mr Hanrahan says.