Fast cat on short­list

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JOEL MAXWELL

A cata­ma­ran ven­ture based in Porirua is on the short­list of bid­ders vy­ing for new Kapiti Is­land tourism con­tracts.

The Con­ser­va­tion Depart­ment re­cently an­nounced a short­list of five busi­nesses bid­ding for li­cences to run tourism ven­tures on the is­land.

John McKenny, who owns Seal Coast Sa­fari and John’s Hop on Hop Off City Tour, plans to launch cata­ma­ran vis­its if he se­cures a con­tract.

‘‘My pro­posal is to leave in a 50-seater cata­ma­ran from Mana and go zoom­ing straight up to Kapiti and then come back. ‘‘There would be two three-hour tours per day.’’ Mr McKenny said his two busi­nesses take about 10,000 peo­ple on Welling­ton tours an­nu­ally.

With close links to book­ing agents on vis­it­ing cruise ships, he hopes to raise the is­land’s pro­file in­ter­na­tion­ally.

‘‘On the way up we can be pos­si­bly look­ing at or­cas, dol­phins.

‘‘It would be a brand new cata­ma­ran and it would be set up for au­dio-visual on the way up.

‘‘We can be giv­ing na­ture talks, and cul­tural talks.’’

The con­ces­sion short­list in­cludes ferry op­er­a­tors Kapiti Tours, and Kapiti Marine Char­ters, along with Kapiti Is­land Na­ture Tours, and Kapiti Heli­worx.

DOC Kapiti- Welling­ton area man­ager Rob Stone said there could be more than one suc­cess­ful con­ces­sion bid­der.

‘‘Po­ten­tially there could be five con­ces­sion­aires at the end of the process.

‘‘I’m not say­ing that is the case, but that is po­ten­tially the case.’’

He con­firmed the se­lec­tion process would even­tu­ally re­place the travel con­ces­sions cur­rently held by ferry ser­vices Kapiti Tours, and Kapiti Marine Char­ters.

Mr Stone said DOC would dou­ble the daily visi­tor limit, with 100 per­mits avail­able each day, and ex­tend the vis­it­ing hours to al­low ear­lier ar­rivals and later de­par­tures.

An av­er­age of 8000 peo­ple visit Kapiti Is­land each year, which falls well short of the 30,000 al­lowed.

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