Tour operators are scrambling to track down campervans along the earthquake-stricken Kaikoura coast and re-route visitors around the worst affected areas.
Tourism Holdings, the country’s largest campervan rental company, does not have GPS tracking in all its vehicles but chief executive Grant Webster said they knew of two vans in the Kaikoura area and three in Hanmer Springs.
At any one time there could be 100 or so camper vans between Blenheim and Christchurch.
It was too soon to say how they would manage to get vehicles and visitors out over badly damaged roads, but the main thing was that so far, all customers were safe, Webster said.
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Jucy rentals is also encouraging customers in the earthquake zone to get in touch and so far three in Kaikoura had done so.
Marketing head Katy Medlock said they had no idea when they might be able to get them out.
“Unfortunately it’s something that is completely out of our control. It’s in the hands of NZTA [New Zealand Transport Agency] and the police.”
Medlock said hirers would not be charged if their bookings had to be extended.
“We’re being very lenient with return dates and so forth. Our primary concern is checking that they are ok and that they are not worried about returning their campervan.”
Tour companies are also trying to re-jig itineraries for clients stuck in, or unable to get to, popular places such as Kaikoura or Hanmer Springs.
Tour coach company Grand Pacific Tours has more than 900 clients due to travel by road or rail along the coastal pacific route between Picton and Christchurch over the next few days.
General manager Stacia Morris said November was their busiest time outside the summer peak and they were still working out how to handle the necessary detours.
New Zealand Fine Line Touring Group marketing manager Chris Sutton said with almost 500 overseas travellers due to arrive before the end of the month, he would be busy re-routing some of them further south, or moving them into the North Island when ferry services were restored.