New website to support visiting drivers

A new website designed to give visitors the information they need to enjoy a safe driving holiday in New Zealand is being launched today.

DriveSafe.org.nz  provides basic information about New Zealand road rules and etiquette, along with links to more details about everything that drivers unfamiliar with our roads need to know. It offers valuable guidance to visiting drivers at three key stages of their trip – before they arrive, when they pick up their rental vehicle and during their journey around New Zealand.

“New Zealand driving holidays are popular with people from all across the globe and are a great way to explore and enjoy all that our country has to offer. But our roads and driving conditions can be quite different from what our visitors are used to at home,” Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.

TIA has led development of the website, with support from the New Zealand Transport Agency, Rental Vehicle Association (RVA) and major rental vehicle operators. It is an initiative under the Visiting Drivers Signature Project, which is part of the government’s Safer Journeys Action Plan 2013-15.

“Nationally, visiting drivers are involved in only a small proportion of crashes, but we want to do all we can to keep them safe and ensure they remember their trip for the right reasons,” Mr Roberts says.

DriveSafe.org.nz tips include encouraging drivers not to get behind the wheel until they have rested after their long flight, and highlighting the fact that driving in New Zealand can often take longer than expected due to our narrow and winding roads. There are also links to the New Zealand Road Code and suggested itineraries. It has been translated into Mandarin and German. Translations into more languages are planned.

All operators and organisations that come into contact with visiting drivers, such as travel wholesalers, visitor information centres and accommodation providers will be encouraged to inform their guests about the website. The URL will also be added to the steering wheel tags carrying simple road safety tips that are being placed in rental vehicles around the country.

RVA Chief Executive Barry Kidd says in conjunction with TIA over 110 rental operators will be contacted over the next few weeks, to promote the website, discuss other visiting driver safety initiatives such as a regional network where rental vehicle operators inform each other when clients have contracts cancelled because of unsafe driving.

Visiting Drivers Signature Project Chairperson Jim Harland says the DriveSafe website is a valuable initiative that will help improve New Zealand road safety.

“The safety of visiting drivers is paramount. We are aiming to deliver visiting drivers with relevant and accurate safety information at the right time, in the right way. The result will be safer roads and a better holiday experience for visitors.”

DriveSafe.org.nz complements a toolkit of messages and information that rental vehicle operators and accommodation providers can use to help educate their international guests about safe driving. The toolkits were released in 2014 and are available on TIA’s website.

Mr Roberts says the tourism industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework stresses the importance of lowering barriers to travel and improving the quality of the visitor experience.

Background

TIA is involved in the Visiting Drivers Signature Project which is focusing on ways to improve road safety for visiting drivers and New Zealanders. Its scope is broad, with potential actions ranging from providing accurate travel time information, to introducing safer speeds on high risk visitor routes. Led by the New Zealand Transport Agency, the project participants include representatives from the tourism and rental vehicle sectors, police, local government and central government.

The Visiting Drivers Signature Project is a key deliverable under the government’s Safer Journeys Action Plan 2013-15. For more information, go to www.saferjourneys.govt.nz

For further information, please contact:

Ann-Marie Johnson
Communications Manager
Tourism Industry Association New Zealand
DDI: 04 496 5001
Mobile: 027 600 4565
Email: ann-marie.johnson@tianz.org.nz
www.tianz.org.nz
www.tourism2025.org.nz

Key Facts

Tourism in New Zealand is a $65.1 million per day industry. Tourism delivers $28.3 million in foreign exchange to the New Zealand economy each day of the year. Domestic tourism contributes another $36.8 million in economic activity every day
Tourism is one of New Zealand’s biggest export industries, earning $10.3 billion or 15.3% of New Zealand’s foreign exchange earnings (year ended March 2014)
Tourism directly and indirectly supports 8.3% of total employment in New Zealand or 166,800 full-time equivalent jobs
The Tourism 2025 growth framework has a goal of almost doubling total tourism revenue to $41 billion a year by 2025.

Visit www.tianz.org.nz for more information.