Funding comes our way for responsible camping initiatives 03 September 2019 Our Coromandel district has received just over $700,000 in government funding to support responsible camping over this coming summer period. Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis awarded the money from a fund of $8 million, which is being allocated among 38 councils to fund responsible camping initiatives and improve the freedom camping experience. The money for our district ($721,774) will go towards three projects focusing on sustainable tourism. These are: Additional toilet servicing – State Highway 25 ($614,886): The Pacific Coast Highway (SH25) is a major route for holiday makers and visitors around the Coromandel Peninsula, with popular freedom camping spots. The $614,886 will increase the cleaning of 59 public toilet facilites to four times a day over 22 weeks (October-April). These toilets all receive high use over the summer as they are close to freedom camping areas. Ambassador programme ($71,532): Six ambassadors will be hired from 1 December 2019 – 9 February 2020 to visit hotspot freedom camping locations in the morning and early evenings to provide visitors with information on where to park and how to camp responsibly. This includes information about the right places to camp, toilet facilities and on rubbish disposal. An ambassador based at Coromandel/Colville will promote a pack-in and pack-out approach to rubbish in the remote northern areas of the Coromandel. Other sites where ambassadors will be operating include the Thames Coast, around Mercury Bay and from Tairua south to Whangamata. Education and information for campers ($35,356): This is towards a public education campaign to promote messaging, signage and allocation of durable, paper rubbish bags (rather than plastic) at key freedom camping hotspots, including the first places people are staying when arriving on the Coromandel. Our Council's Communications and Economic Development Group Manager Laurna White says tourism plays a major role in our local economy, so we very much want to encourage visitors to the Coromandel and to enjoy the natural beauty. "We also want to ensure visitors leave our district the same way they find it, so others can continue to enjoy the iconic Kiwi experience," Mrs White says. "This funding provides valuable support for our peak visitor season, and these initiatives will help educate visitors to understand the desired travel etiquette in a way that benefits our tourism ecosystem," Mrs White says. “During the peak months, our public facilities are pushed to their limits and the additional services required can be an expensive burden for a low ratepayer-based region," Mrs White says. "This money is operational and comes at no additional cost to ratepayers and it is only to cover the upcoming summer season. While it’s a great boost to receive this additional money, we don’t want to set up an unrealistic expectation that we are going to be able to do this every year." Promoting the Tiaki Promise Destination Coromandel General Manager Hadley Dryden says the Coromandel is in need of improved visitor facilities in response to the exponential growth in visitor numbers over the last six years. "Signs and education for campers will help inform visitors about appropriate behavior, and should also increase visitor satisfaction with accurate information," Mr Dryden says “Additional initiatives such as regularly cleaned toilets will deliver on the absolute basics that any host should deliver. In turn, we can then deliver on initiatives such as the Tiaki Promise with more credibility, given that we too are making an effort,” Mr Dryden says, The Tiaki Promise is an initiative to help visitors to New Zealand care for our people, place and culture, for now and future generations. You can find out more about the Tiaki Promise here. For more information on freedom camping on the Coromandel, click here. We also produce a guide to camping on the Coromandel, which you can download from our website.