After 30 years of operating from the same site, Kiwi360 tourism businesses will begin to shift off the property after closing the doors on Monday.

Kiwifruit Country Tours director Graeme Crossman said preparations were under way to relocate to a new destination, and on an interim basis tours would continue to operate on a private exclusive booking basis from an orchard in Paengaroa.

Mr Crossman said the move followed a decision by the business owning leases not to exercise a right of renewal of the lease which expired in February.

The property, known as Kiwi360 from which the businesses operated, had been purchased by Seeka which intends making the site its new corporate head office.


Mr Crossman said the growing popularity of the Tauranga Eastern Link was a motivating factor in the decision not to renew, and the potential future 'by-pass effect' had been a real concern.

"With cruise [passengers] being our biggest client, and continuing to grow strongly, there was also a compelling reason to relocate, to be on the direct route to Rotorua.

"It was a sad decision to make, but the venue and product is 30 years old, and a renewal and refresh of the tourism product is a great opportunity."

Mr Crossman said the concept of celebrating the district's unique climate and soils and "glorious abundance" would not change.

"It's a perfect attraction for the giant visitor markets of the East Asia, China, Japan and sub-continents, where our global brands of Zespri and Comvita are so highly regarded."

Mr Crossman said discussions were advanced with new partners and property owners, and provision for a seamless transition for major clients, going into next season, would be made.

The name 'Kiwi360' would not be used as a brand at the new location.

Mr Crossman said since it opened in 1986 more than 1.5 million international visitors had visited the property.

"In our time we have personally told the 'Story of Kiwifruit' and the Te Puke region to more than 550,000 international visitors.

"We know they go away amazed, and as loyal advocates for New Zealand kiwifruit.

"They always promise to tell all their friends and relatives when they get back home about the high quality regimes and passion which underpins New Zealand kiwifruit.

"We're definitely going to continue to do that at the next location."

Mr Crossman said the business was expected to re-open from a permanent site in the Paengaroa area in time for the opening of the next cruise ship season in October.