Kapiti trips open­ing up

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By BEN STRANG

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.

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