Kapiti trips opening up
More eco-tour operators could be taking tourists to Kapiti Island as the Department of Conservation looks to boost visitor numbers.
Licences for the two boat operators running trips to the island finish in the next few months and the department is offering the opportunity for potential new eco- tour operators to apply.
Spokeswoman Wendy Newton said Kapiti Island was one of the few nature reserve islands in New Zealand that could be visited and the department would like to increase the number of visitors to it.
Operators would have to pass stringent biosecurity testing.
Ms Newton stressed that the department did not want the risk of pests reaching the island and visits needed to be well managed.
Kapiti Tours and Kapiti Marine Charters take about 8000 people to Kapiti Island each year.
The department believes there is capacity for up to 30,000 people to visit the island.
‘‘The concessions have reached the end of their term, they started the tours in 1997. . . now was a great time to go back to market.’’
Ms Newton said the present operators could reapply for a licence and would have to go through the same testing.