New Zealand: Overseas tourists in New Zealand, hiring vehicles increasingly expect to find a satellite navigation system, not a map, in the vehicle. And that’s not good news for the Geraldine community which has found itself the victim of the new technology with many tourists opting to take the shortest route supplied by their GPS system, bypassing Geraldine.
Checks with satellite navigation units showed if the user asked for the most direct route from Christchurch to Queenstown, it took them down the country roads rather than going into Geraldine.
Kea Campers might not be the largest motor hire company in New Zealand, but being at the premium end of the market their clientele are increasingly expecting vehicles to come complete with GPS systems. “It is becoming more the norm. The units are getting cheaper and they expect them rather than being handed a map,” said Grant Brady, chief executive officer of the company.
However, the company attempted to dissuade hirers from venturing on to gravel roads. Brady said the hirers were free independent travellers and as such, often ventured off the main highways. His advice to the Geraldine community was to approach the companies supplying the mapping systems to the GPS manufacturers, asking they remove the Orari to State Highway 79 shortcut.
Over the summer season 80 per cent of Kea customers hired vehicles that either included GPS systems or they opted to hire the units for their stay. The Geraldine situation came to light earlier this year when residents started wondering why large numbers of campervans were travelling between Orari and State Headway 79, the Geraldine-Fairlie highway, via Coach and Tiplady roads.