11 July 2008

Visitors to NZ can reduce carbon "wheelprint"

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Kiwi Campers announced they will be the first motorhome company to offer carbon emission offsetting for travellers. The company is responding to an increased demand by international visitors wanting "greener" travel options, reports Fourcorners.

The initiative is the first of its kind for the New Zealand motorhome rental industry, and it is possibly also a world-first enterprise.  Customers of Kiwi Campers must choose the platinum insurance option, which means the company will take responsibility for offsetting all carbon emissions created by the vehicle over the course of their holiday. 

"Caring for the environment has become a top priority for many visitors.  Most are very discerning with a high expectation of quality, and a company committed to reducing its carbon footprint is quickly becoming a part of this expectation," said Christchurch Operations Manager for Kiwi Campers, Patrick Broadbent.

A recent survey from a global tour operator, Contiki Holidays, showed that over 50 per cent of young travellers in Australia and New Zealand are conscious about their carbon footprint. 

"Ten years ago, most young New Zealanders never gave much consideration to the carbon footprint of their travel," said Tony Laskey, General Manager of Contiki. 

"Today, sustainability concerns outweigh price when making a purchasing decision.  This is why in the past 24 months Contiki New Zealand has seen a growth in both outbound and inbound clients as more young people see coach touring as not only a fun, but also environmentally friendly way to see the world," he told the New Zealand Herald.

As UK residents make up a large part of New Zealand’s international visitor numbers, totalling well over 300,000 every year, many of these young travellers are keen to make up for their long-haul flight by making eco-friendly decisions at ground-level.  Most of these travellers from the UK arrive on a New Zealand working holiday visa, which gives 18 to 30 year olds the opportunity to work and travel in New Zealand for up to 23 months.  New Zealand has a special arrangement with the British Government that allows UK nationals to work and travel in the country for 11months longer than other participating countries in the working holiday visa program.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.

Young people interested in working in New Zealand can apply online for a New Zealand working visa.

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