Summer visitor numbers tracking higher than snow season

Summer visitor numbers tracking higher than snow season

Tracks use shows no signs of slowing

Summer visitors continue to beat the snow season numbers for the Ruapehu District, with operators reporting continued interest in the area including biking or hiking the trails such as the Ohakune Old Coach Road – pictured on Wednesday 6 January.

TCB’s Ben Wiggins said their bike rental numbers remain steady through summer – six years on from when they started their summer trade. He said they have steady bookings through to the end of February.

He’s predicting that mountain bike numbers will stay high if they can get the Ohakune Mountain Road trail operating soon.

“That will give the area another kick.”

He said the focus group that is working on plans for the trail are working really hard to make it happen.

While the Bulletin wasn’t able to find any hard data yet on the summer visitors, following The Economist’s burgernomics (which examines the purchasing power parity between nations, using the cost of a Big Mac as the benchmark), Ruapehu could use “trashonomics”.

Local contractor Mike Maru reports that his work to keep the street bins empty and tidy continues to grow in summer and now easily surpasses the snow season.

He says there could be all kinds of useful information in what people throw away – not just the volume of rubbish but the type.

One downside of the busy season was around the transfer station opening hours, with visitors not able to get rid of their rubbish for a number of days.

The transfer station ran to its regular operating hours and was closed on the Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, as well as New Year’s Day and Christmas day.

As these two days fell on a Friday it was closed two days in a row over the Christmas and New Year weeks.

“This summer there has been a lot more rubbish than usual, which is no doubt likely the result of increased summer visitor numbers which are at record numbers,” said council communications manager Paul Wheatcroft.

He said a report was being prepared for Council proposing that the transfer station be opened every Tuesday during summer months.