DOC asks visitors to ‘Love this place’

The campaign sits under the wider umbrella of industry initiative ‘Tiaki – Care for New Zealand‘. ‘Love this place’ provides practical, online and on-the-ground information to ensure people know how to visit our great outdoors responsibly, keep themselves and others safe, and tread lightly, says DOC’s Heritage and Visitors Director, Steve Taylor.

“With more of us out and about over summer, our actions matter more than ever for our natural environment. DOC’s campaign targets the really important behaviours for keeping our impact to a minimum and makes it easy for everyone to do the right thing.”

DOC’s ‘Love this place’ campaign focusses on five key areas of visitor behaviour: littering, toileting, wildlife interaction, safety and drone use.

“It’s simple stuff,” says Steve Taylor, “give wildlife space, remove all litter, prepare for your visit and poo in a loo!

“Responsible drone use is another topic that’s really important to avoid distressing and disturbing wildlife (not to mention other visitors). Many people just simply aren’t aware of the negative impacts their drone can have on New Zealand’s birds in particular, and that you must have a permit to use a drone over conservation lands and waters.”

‘Love this place’ builds on the success of DOC’s 2018/19 behaviour in nature campaign ‘Visit the Kiwi way’ which won the Great Journeys of New Zealand Industry Enabler Award at the Tourism Awards in October.

“When people connect to landscapes and heritage, it improves their wellbeing and sparks their interest in protecting our natural environment. It’s important we enable everyone to benefit from visiting our great outdoors while safeguarding New Zealand for generations to come,” says Steve Taylor.

“Our focus on visitor behaviour is part of DOC’s wider work to manage increasing numbers of visitors to the outdoors each year,” he says.

“DOC is putting an additional $5 million into managing visitors to the outdoors this summer, including putting more rangers on the ground at popular sites.”

“Through this investment we’ll be focussing on compliance, keeping tracks, huts and campsites in good condition, protecting the natural environment and telling the stories of our species and places.”

In line with the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy launched in May 2019, in the long-term DOC is assessing ways it can sustainably manage the predicted growth and derive benefits from this growth for the conservation of our heritage.

“Supported by investments from the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy and the Provincial Growth Fund, we are looking at future-proofing and enhancing our popular visitor sites such as the West Coast glaciers, Milford Sound, the Mackenzie Basin, Tongariro and Taranaki.”

Background information

‘Love this place’

Following on from the award-winning ‘Visit the Kiwi way’ campaign, DOC is launching the next evolution of the behaviour change campaign in December 2019: ‘Love this place’.

Like last year, this campaign is part of a nationwide effort to engage domestic and international tourists to behave responsibly while travelling in Aotearoa. The key issues this campaign focuses on are: safety, toileting, wildlife interaction, unauthorised drone use, and litter.

The campaign is delivered digitally and through DOC’s visitor centres, i-SITEs and partner networks. Visit www.doc.govt.nz/lovethisplace

About ‘Visit the Kiwi way’ 2018/19 campaign

DOC’s ‘Visit the Kiwi way’ campaign used humour, a simple thumbs up/down motif and multiple channels to connect with audiences.

By the end of the campaign, people had seen campaign messages on screens 8.6 million times (cumulative reach) and 52% of visitors surveyed following the campaign recalled seeing it.

As well as speaking directly to visitors, the campaign helped tourism operators inform their clients about protecting New Zealand’s natural places. It worked with a wide range of tourism organisations, who shared and supported the campaign.

Managing visitors to conservation areas over summer 2019/20

Government allocated additional resources to DOC in Budgets 2017 and 2018 to ensure that DOC was better resourced to respond to increased use of the outdoors without having an impact on other priority conservation programmes.

Over the summers of 2017/18 and 2018/19 this provided an extra $2m and $3.6m respectively in operational spending to address prioritised pressure points across New Zealand. This summer this amount has increased by around 40% to an all-time high of just over $5m in extra operational spending.

Some of this funding will go towards strengthening DOC’s focus on telling the stories of places, ensuring responsible visitor behaviour and checking operators are complying with their permits. Over summer, 13 DOC rangers will be out and about checking tourism operators have a concession and are compliant with its conditions. More than 20 rangers, trained to share our conservation stories, will be out and about in popular places right across New Zealand.

Alongside this operational funding, DOC’s capital expenditure on visitor assets (such as roads, toilets, car parks campsites and tracks) has also grown in response to increased visitor pressures. In the past four financial years, DOC has invested more than $60 million in capital expenditure to replace or improve visitor assets including roads, toilets, car parks, huts and campsites.

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