3 Apr 2017

Campervan company regrets Lions 'tour surcharge'

7:01 pm on 3 April 2017

A campervan hire company regrets describing a price hike for the upcoming Lions rugby team tour as a tour surcharge, it says.

Wendekreisen, campervan, camper van

A Wendekreisen campervan (file photo) Photo: 123RF

Wendekreisen has been criticised for coming close to tripling its prices for the month-long visit by the British and Irish Lions in June and July.

The New Zealand family firm listed four- and six-berth campervans at $750 for 10 days, but then added a "Lions Tour Surcharge" of $1240.

Wendekreisen managing director Sascha Warnken said he made a mistake calling his price increase a tour surcharge, and was changing the name to a "seasonal adjustment".

He said his company had been singled out, but other rental companies were charging just as much but not being as transparent about their pricing.

'There's plenty of choice' - Tourism Industry Association

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Chris Roberts said it was not seeing overcharging during the planned tour as a widespread problem.

Mr Roberts said the price to hire a campervan in June would be similar to what it cost during the peak summer season

There were dozens of rental companies, Mr Roberts said, and if one was charging too much people would take their business elsewhere.

"Any suggestion that people are taking advantage will upset people, but there's plenty of choice," he said.

Tourists risk getting 'stuck' as prices go up

Adopt-A-Lion founder Adam Gilshnan, who created a website to help tourists find a free bed in New Zealand, said many visitors were getting caught out as accommodation prices went up.

Some hotels, motels and private houses were now being offered at more than $1000 a night, the billeting scheme organiser said.

"They might have looked a long time ago and thought 'oh, it's only a hundred bucks a night, I'll just budget for that and that should see me right'.

"Now they're thinking 'I can't afford it, what can I do, I'm stuck'.

"You know, we want repeat business, don't we - as a tourism market we don't want people thinking 'man, they were just out to fleece us'."

Mr Gilshnan said 500 New Zealanders had offered spare beds to the scheme, which he described as an overwhelming response.

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