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Fear businesses could suffer after eruption

Published: 10:05AM Thursday November 22, 2012 Source: ONE News

Businesses fear extended closure of the Tongariro Crossing after yesterday's eruption could be devastating for tourism as the season reaches its peak.

The mountain's most recent volcanic activity has shut down the route that draws tourists from around the world and injects around $40 million each year into the local economy.

The operator of Adrift NZ, which conducts guided tours on the crossing, says it is hard to run a business that is dependent on the mountain.

"I kind of feel that the mountain owns me, as do all of us around here," Stewart Barclay said.

"Our livelihood is reliant on it."

Around 80,000 walk the Tongariro Crossing each year, with November to May the normal season for tramping.

Tongariro Holiday Park owner Greg Hooper said he was already fielding cancellations from visitors.

"Today, unfortunately, there was 26 campervans checked out and tonight we haven't got anybody to check in yet.

"So it's gonna be a little bit of a holiday, I think."

Barclay said the local businesses support safety first, but what attracts a lot of people to the outdoors is an element of risk.

Eruption hits international headlines

The Wall Street Journal, New York Daily Times, Washington Times, the UK's BBC News, Mirror, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, the Shanghai Daily, The Voice of Russia, Newstrack India and Australian media have published news stories on yesterday's eruption.

The news media made links between the eruption and the Lord of the Rings, as Mt Tongariro has become popular with tourists because it was the backdrop for scenes in the film.

The Daily Telegraph's headline read "'Lord of the Rings' volcano erupts in New Zealand".

And the Daily Mail reported "plumes of smoke and ash billowed from Lord of the Rings' Mount Doom".