People still adjusting to booking changes

Multiple tourism award wins for two Port Lincoln tourism operators at the weekend suggest many visitors to the city are leaving with a good impression of what the region has to offer.

However it seems visitors to the region’s national parks may not all be having the same positive experience following the move to online campsite bookings and entry fee payments earlier this year.

The changes were introduced in February so locals have had a while to get used to them but some interstate visitors are still getting caught out.

Some locals who only head out to the region’s national parks in the summer months may also be experiencing the new system for the first time.

The Port Lincoln Times spoke to three lots of people visiting the Lincoln National Park last week, two of whom had negative feedback and one positive.

While that is only a tiny sample, it suggests the teething problems are not over yet.

It seems the online component puts many people off but they do have the option of going in to the Port Lincoln office or Visitor Information Centre to book and pay in person if they prefer.

It is good to see at least one change has been made based on people’s feedback including making the Beachcomber at Coffin Bay a booking agent for the Coffin Bay National Park so people do not have to travel all the way in to Port Lincoln if they are unable or unwilling to book online.

Improving mobile phone service in the parks – if it happens – would also be welcome as would the ability to change bookings online.

One question that has been raised by park visitors is what happens when someone else is already in your booked site when you arrive?

Obviously this should not happen under the new system but it has and Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula’s answer is to ask for help from a ranger or campground host or call the office to change the booking

This assumes a ranger or host is available or that the office is open and the camper has phone service.

If the park is already full – as is very possible over Easter or the New Year period – this poses another problem but as the number of visitors to parks increases over summer so, we are told, will the number of rangers out and about so there will likely be someone around to help anyone having problems.