Drive to Wellington? Sure, go strait ahead

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 07:41 09/01/2014
Margot Martin-Babin
Emma Allen
Onsite guide: Backpackers Philip Israelson, 21, right, and Mya Kallin, 20, from Sweden, get some South Island road trip advice from Blenheim i-Site employee Margot Martin-Babin.

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Questions about the train to Nelson and the drive to Wellington were among some of the more offbeat questions that staff at the Blenheim and Picton i-Sites fielded from visitors last year.

Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said visitors tended to ask the questions most people in Marlborough and the rest of New Zealand took for granted.

Someone wanted to know if they had to show their passport at the ferry terminal, Mrs Johnston said.

Staff also helped visitors with inquiries beyond travel assistance.

A mother with her baby at the Blenheim i-Site yesterday asked staff if they could heat up some baby food, Mrs Johnston said.

Other times staff helped people look for a long-lost friend or relative whose last known address was in Marlborough.

One staff member helped arrange a face-to-face meeting between two penpals when one of them visited Picton on a cruise ship last February.

Although visitor numbers at the two i-Sites last year were down slightly on the previous 12 months, Mrs Johnston said she was pleased they had maintained most of their visitor numbers.

"It reinforces how important face-to-face contact is for visitors," she said. "People are still coming in to see the staff to get help and information, so there is still a need for the service."

The Blenheim and Picton i-Sites were among the most popular online, Mrs Johnston said, with the Blenheim site the top viewed link on newzealand.com four times last year.

VISITOR NUMBERS

Total number of visitors to the Blenheim and Picton i-Sites:

2013: 222,700

2012: 223,500 

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- The Marlborough Express

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