Holiday parks face 'immense' challenges
GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
"Don't be a possum caught in the headlights" of drastic business changes, holiday park owners were urged by the Automobile Association's boss in Queenstown.
At the Holidaypark Association's conference, AA chief executive Peter Blackwell was introduced as "the one person who's done more for domestic tourism and holiday parks than anyone in the past seven years".
Mr Blackwell said the challenges facing the holiday park industry were immense.
"Changing markets, fewer British and European travellers, shorter staying Aussies and more Chinese travellers who are unfamiliar with your market are all huge challenges," Mr Blackwell told delegates.
Internet booking sites such as wotif.com and newly formed but popular booking.com, now an essential part of booking travel, were a double-edged sword as the booking fee generally charged could cost holiday parks 5 per cent of a visitor's stay. The now-standard technology and related fees had to be factored into business plans, Mr Blackwell said.
However, one of the biggest challenges for holiday parks came under the umbrella of local councils and regional tourism offices, which had slashed their promotional budgets while raising rates. "In the case of Taupo, you've got the mayor ... suddenly deciding there'll be free camping on the lakefront which affects all of you there," Mr Blackwell said.
He finished by announcing he would be leaving the Automobile Association to run a supermarket.
Queenstown identities Ernie and Tonnie Spijkerbosch's Creeksyde Holiday Park was a finalist for holiday park of the year, the winner of which will be announced on the final day of the conference today.
- © Fairfax NZ News