Operators upbeat about holidays

HELEN MURDOCH
Last updated 10:24 19/12/2013

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With floods, earthquakes and the global economic crises behind us, Tasman's tourism operators are looking forward to a good summer with a number saying they are already fully booked over the peak holiday season.

Brent Clarke of Pohara Top Ten Holiday Park said the camp still had a few sites and accommodation units available but on the whole it was stepping up to be a good season.

"It'll be better than the last two years, but not as good as a number of years ago."

Bookings had been affected over recent years by the Christchurch earthquake, Golden Bay's floods, the global financial meltdown and the lack of scallops in Golden Bay.

"For us there has been quite a few things to keep tourist numbers down, although it has still been good. A lot of people want to holiday here."

Brent said the strong New Zealand dollar had dented international tourist numbers, but the shortfall was being made up by holidaymakers from around the region and Christchurch.

Abel Tasman National Park's huts and campgrounds are already booked out for January and running close to capacity leading into Christmas.

Department of Conservation Nelson partnerships manager Martin Rodd said this summer was "looking like a pretty amazing season."

Some of the park's campgrounds had limited capacity from mid-January but those who wanted to stay on the golden coastline should book now, he said.

The number of people who could overnight in the park was limited to around 1000, he said.

The strong tourist numbers were not just being experienced in the Abel Tasman with Nelson Lakes National Park recording only limited capacity in its West Bay camp leading into and during January. The park's Kerr Bay camp was booked solid to mid-

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