As domestic travel in New Zealand gets a boost with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, New Plymouth District Council is gearing up to make New Plymouth a destination city for Kiwi motorhomers.
New Plymouth has now received the official seal of approval from the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) which has accepted it into the Motorhome Friendly Town scheme.
New Plymouth District mayor Neil Holdom says its great news.
"We're looking forward to warmly welcoming motorhome users to our wonderful corner of Aotearoa.
"This accreditation from the NZMCA recognises the work we do with our council-controlled organisation Venture Taranaki to make our region a must-visit destination for Kiwis and is another example of how we're Building a Lifestyle Capital."
Destinations have to meet certain criteria to be accredited as Motorhome Friendly, such as having a compliant Freedom Camping Bylaw and providing access to rubbish/recycling and drinking water facilities.
The final development New Plymouth needed was a motorhome dump station on public land which is opening soon on Rifle Range Road in Waiwhakaiho, thanks to the support of the local community in that area.
NZMCA chief executive Bruce Lochore says the Association was pleased to welcome New Plymouth to the Motorhome Friendly scheme.
"We have committed to a multi-pronged, national promotional campaign that's designed to revitalise responsible motorhome tourism in our 56 Motorhome Friendly towns this spring and summer."
He says the NZMCA is ideally placed to lead the initiative.
"While much of the tourism industry is going to be playing catch-up with domestic tourism, it's our area of expertise.
"When all the focus was on international tourists in the big-name destinations, we've led the charge to ensure that rural and provincial New Zealand got its fair share of tourist dollars."
Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park owner Peter Crawford says he commends NPDC for taking steps to again highlight New Plymouth as a friendly place to visit.
"I hope motorhomers attracted support local tourism, retail and hospitality businesses as we move toward tourism that really benefits the host communities."
More motorhomes, caravans and campers have been coming to Taranaki as the region enjoyed a surge in tourism after being named among the top two regions in the world to visit by Lonely Planet in 2016.
This is expected to rise again as Kiwis venture out closer to home with foreign travel grounded during the Covid-19 pandemic.
NPDC has six campground and holiday parks across the District from Urenui to Ōākura.