October 15, 2013 by Doug Coutts
The plan to charge an entry fee to New Zealand’s classiest resort town, no – Queenstown, has resonated throughout New Zealand with many municipalities deciding to follow suit.
The idea, hailed as The Best One Ever, is based on Stewart Island’s attempt to bolster the number of tourists to that windswept backwater by fleecing them as soon as they set foot on the island, in order to get them used to the exorbitant prices for tatty souvenirs and substandard food charged further inland.
But Queenstown has decided to go one better.
“We have even tackier souvenirs, plus our restaurants and bars make McDonald’s Moscow look like Logan Brown by comparison,” Queenstown PR spokesperson Rip O’Phagint told WWNews on condition we bought a postcard and tea-towel combo. “But our ace up the sleeve is our retailers and bar staff – they’re arrogant shites , alkies and p addicts who gained their customer service qualifications from Guantanamo Tech. That and the views already keep the punters flocking in, so it makes sense to charge them for the privilege.” Mr O’Phagint says payment will be taken discretely, usually when visitors are asleep.
The City of Auckland is thinking of developing a similar system, according to council media assistant Woody Laituyu. “We’re currently investigating installing toll booths at the airport, at the start of motorways and on the John Key Memorial Cycle Trail, once it’s begun,” he told WWnews on the condition we wouldn’t tell anyone we’d slept with the mayor. There’ll be no toll booths at Britomart however, he says, because traveller numbers there indicate the cost of installation would exceed any potential income.
Dunedin, too, is working on a scheme to extract more dollars from both tourists. “We’ll have an honesty box in the Octagon,” mayor Dave Cull told WWNews. “And I didn’t kiss no one okay?”
Wellington’s poshest suburb Newlands also sees the pay-per-stay strategy as a great way to attract more people into the town centre. “We can see the potential,” cultural attaché Jamie Spicari told WWNews only because it was our round. “The major issue we have is how to give them the money as they drive in off the motorway.”
To the weather now and the outlook is out there. Otherwise it’d be an inlook.