Limited stays an opportunity lost

The visiting yacht trade is increasingly important to Whangarei but the city could do even better if yachties could stay longer, says Northland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tony Collins.

Time limits on visitor permits were preventing the Whangarei marine industry taking full advantage of the visitors, he said. The permits were limited to one year, with the right to apply for another.

"Two years seems like a long time but sometimes it's actually not long enough to secure a booking for major work and get it completed and allow time for rest and recuperation from a long voyage," he said.

People on world cruises were usually in no hurry and were likely to want time to do some touring around as well as oversee or work on major maintenance. Other countries let yachties stay longer.

"We've had three people coming in to the chamber office asking for letters of support for applications to extend their time to continue work being done on their boats and none of them has been successful.

In one case it had cost the Whangarei economy $60,000.

Mr Collins said the chamber had raised the issue with central government several times and also had informal conversations with local government.

- Northern Advocate

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