Tararua welcomes motorhome traffic

Tararua is seeking to benefit from a booming caravan and motorhome sector, with Woodville the second town in the district to be certified motorhome friendly.

Tararua District Council spokeswoman Lianne Simpkin said although it was too early to calculate the economic benefit, the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association's certification of Dannevirke in October last year had had a noticeable effect.

"We've certainly seen an increase in motorhome traffic throughout Dannevirke, in fact throughout Tararua as far as Pongaroa."

Mrs Simpkin said now that Woodville had been declared motorhome friendly, the council would also like to pursue certification for Pahiatua and Eketahuna.

"The more that we use the tracks and trails and benefit from the sheer traffic on the highway, the more the community and businesses will benefit. And the more we link other tracks and trails and communities into these roadways and highways, we grow that opportunity."

Association chief executive Bruce Lachore said yesterday certification ensured a town would be welcoming, which resulted in an increase in visitors. A certified town also benefited from having its events and activities promoted to members at no cost to the town, and from visitors spending.

"Last year the total spend through the NZ economy of motorhoming in general was in excess of $650 million, and that's going to grow," he said.

"As an activity, motorhoming and caravanning are going through massive growth phases. We currently have 53,000 members, and with the growth rate we are experiencing at the moment we expect to reach 80,000 within five years."

He attributed the growth to the Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age.

"We've had two solid years, experiencing 15 per cent growth each year in that market. As an activity, motorhoming fits that lifestyle of this new generation of retiree, where they are no longer prepared to buy a bach by the beach, put up their feet and just wait to die.

"They are very active in their retirement. They are looking to take on the cycle trails, the walking trails, very active."

Manawatu Standard