DOC hut fees still a bargain

The Herald reports:

The Department of Conservation is investigating charging overseas visitors higher fees for huts and campsites on its Great Walks on top of a hike in charges for all users later this month.

The increases announced yesterday are ’s first increases in five years and come as the Herald this week highlights pressure on them and rising costs of maintenance.

On the popular Milford Track – where up to 67 per cent of visitors are from overseas – hut fees will rise from $54 to $70.

That is still an incredible bargain. You are effectively getting not just the hut to stay in, but also the maintenance of the track.

I’ve done most of the Great Walks and the hut fees are the smallest cost compared to gear and travel.

DoC’s director of recreation, tourism and heritage, Gavin Walker, said the fee increase was part of a funding review that could in future include charging overseas visitors more.

“That’s absolutely still on the table for consideration but we’re unable to deploy that [differential booking] process at the moment.

A differential price is sensible as NZers also fund the huts through their taxes. But the price difference shouldn’t be huge. If we started charging $200 a night for the huts, then it would price them out of reach of some tourists.

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