Fullers360 is thrilled to announce it is resuming its popular Auckland-to-Rangitoto service in time for Queen’s Birthday weekend. Saturday 30 May will mark the route’s first sailing since 23 March.
It is the first of Fullers360’s tourism services to reopen since the COVID-19 lockdown. The move signals the start of its long-term strategy to reignite Auckland tourism, which will see the business pivot from the international tourism market to focus on domestic visitors.
A recent survey found that, while more than half of Aucklanders regard Rangitoto Island as the jewel in the city’s crown, less than 25 per cent have visited the Island in the past five years.
Fullers360’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Horne acknowledges that, outside of its regular commuter community, a significant number of Aucklander’s did not regularly engage with Fullers360’s products prior to COVID-19.
He believes that international travel restrictions pose a domestic opportunity for both Fullers360 and local businesses in the Hauraki Gulf and that a new offering of domestic products and services will become the tourism industry’s new ‘business as normal’.
“A key feature of economic resilience moving forward will be to reimagine the products and experiences we typically offer international visitors, and to innovate this offering to appeal to a domestic audience,” says Mr Horne.
After providing transport services to essential workers during alert levels 3 and 4, Horne says that providing New Zealanders with access to the Hauraki Gulf and its many stunning locations will be a leading tourism asset for Auckland, attracting locals and other visitors from around the country.
“Our service has often been referred to as a lifeline for many communities to the city. We take that responsibility seriously and now see our role as providing an essential, lifeline service to help the local tourism industry and economy to recover.”
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development General Manager Destination, Steve Armitage, welcomes the return of Fullers360’s Rangitoto service as New Zealanders begin to venture out to discover what’s on offer in their own back yards.
“Auckland’s harbours and islands are stunning and a drawcard for locals and visitors alike, so seeing services like this resume is a huge positive for our visitor economy.
“Encouraging Aucklanders and visitors to our region to get out and explore the gems our region offers, during Queen’s Birthday weekend and into the future, will help support the recovery of our tourism sector,” says Mr Armitage.
“The research shows that there are many Aucklanders who have never experienced the wonder of Rangitoto Island. Now is the time,” says Mr Horne.
“In addition, Auckland is home to many fantastic inner harbour destinations for both locals and domestic visitors to explore. Devonport and Hobsonville for example are both great world-class hospitality destinations. With well-integrated public transport, it is accessible to get to the ferry terminal and make the most of day tripping to these destinations. There are many other beautiful locations around the Hauraki Gulf they can visit soon as more Fullers360 services come back on stream.”