- Introduction, What is Adventure Tourism?
- Destination Marketing Organizations of New Zealand
- Adventure Tourism Activities 1
- Adventure Tourism Activities 2
- Application of New Zealand Practices to Adventure Tourism in the Adirondacks
Active Adventures - I
Active Adventures is a tour operator based in Queenstown that offers guided multi-day tours offering a range of activities including hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and general sightseeing. Their packages include meals, accommodations, transport, activities and guides. Pricing ranges from 8 days for $3,600 to 14 days for $5,700 per person.
The company was started in 1996 and offered itineraries only in New Zealand. They have since expanded to offering trips in the Himalayas, South America and Europe. They are now hosting approximately 1,200 travelers per year on their New Zealand itineraries. Since some of their activities take place on public land they need a concession with DoC and are DoC approved. Active was not used for any part of this visit to New Zealand but some of the activities and lodging included in their tours was used.
A meeting was held in Queenstown with Managing Director Rob Wiseley, Matthew Yates, and Phil Boorman. Given the high price point of their tours they were asked what they considered to be their greatest value added as opposed to a traveler developing their own itinerary. From the first point of contact through to the conclusion of a tour their exchanges are human and customized. This builds trust between the prospective customer and the company and leads to very high levels of satisfaction. The researcher’s experience with the company reflected this. Of all the inquiries made in the course of planning Active was the only company that offered to send a brochure, and it arrived within a week. A follow-up e-mail that was clearly customized was sent by a member of their staff, and the same person continued to follow up to see if there were any questions that could be answered. Group sizes do not exceed 14 people and they typically have two guides with each group. The guides are local wherever they are operating and they pride themselves on sharing local knowledge with the participants.
The target market is a 55 year old couple, many times with dual incomes. Their marketing strategy relies heavily on digital, utilizing search advertising, social media and search engine optimization. Unlike Ultimate Hikes the majority of their customers come from the United States. Active does use some traditional media, buying advertising in magazines like Outside in the U.S. They attend some outdoor shows in major markets in the U.S. and also host events for past and prospective customers in a number of cities.
Adventure Tourism Activities
The operators of these activities make it easy to experience them and they can be performed at any level of difficulty chosen. Information is readily available online and at visitor information centers. Activities can be done individually or as part of packages, on a do it yourself basis or fully supported in terms of equipment rental, transfers, meals and accommodations. A variety of activities were experienced representing different types of product offering and varying levels of convenience and support.
Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman is New Zealand’s smallest and most visited National Park, located at the northern end of the South Island closer to population centers. One of New Zealand’s “Great Walks” is the Abel Tasman Coast Track which runs 37 miles through the park. Situated between Golden Bay and the Tasman Sea the park features beaches, mountains and lush forests. Overnight camping is allowed by permit in 19 camping areas and 4 DoC huts along the track.
The village of Marahau at the southern boundary of the park is the base of operations for six full service guiding and outfitting companies providing services using the park. A full day package was purchased from Kahu Kayaks including a morning water taxi trip into the heart of the park, a 2 ½ unguided walk along the Abel Tasman Coast Track, water taxi return to a beach where kayaks were waiting, and a 2 hour guided kayak tour back to the starting point.
The outfitters offer rentals, half day and full day guided trips, and water taxi services to a number of different locations in the park. This allows the customer to do as much or as little as they like, guided or unguided, and a combination of walking and paddling if they prefer. They also handle hut accommodation and activity bookings for the National Parks.
The businesses operate as a concession in the Park and pay a per head fee to both the DoC and Tasman District Council.
The Okarito Lagoon is New Zealand’s largest coastal wetland and is renowned for its bird life and native rain forest. Okarito Nature Tours offers kayak rentals and guided trips on the lagoon utilizing a public boat launch. Kayaks were rented for half a day and all equipment was provided. Okarito Boat Tours also operates on the lagoon, utilizing a motor boat for three hour tours primarily focused on the bird life. No permits are required from the DoC for either of these businesses, which as the owners pointed out also offers no protection from competitors.