TODAY |

Visitor drought a 'golden opportunity' for a Milford Sound tourism overhaul

A group called Milford Opportunities has been tasked with devising a master plan for the tourist hot-spot of Milford Sound. 

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Tourist numbers are at 200 a day, compared with the pre-Covid-19 winter of around 2000-3000. Source: Q+A

Currently, tourist numbers are at 200 a day, compared with the pre-Covid-19 winter number of about 2000-3000 per day. 

The group would look at the issue of the partially treated sewage that is pumped into the fiord, and if there should be a cap on visitor numbers in the future. 

Last year, almost one million people visited Milford, but that surge has slowed to a trickle after the Covid-19 pandemic. 

It has led some to call it a "golden opportunity to reset the way we do tourism".

Ruth Shaw, who ran a charter boat business, told TVNZ1's Q+A it presented an opportunity "to be brave, to be courageous and say, 'what kind of tourism do we need in New Zealand?'"

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But Covid-19 social distancing rules still prevent tourism operators from operating at full capacity. Source: 1 NEWS

Queenstown mayor Jim Boult says discussion around a cap on visitor numbers  "has a time and a place, but at the moment that discussion is completely unnecessary". 

Hamish Egerton of Cruise Milford agrees tourism at Milford Sound needs an overhaul, but is focused on business survival. For July, bookings are up on last year. 

"I just really want to thank the Kiwis, they've saved a number of operators around the country. They've really backed the country."

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