Sunday , May 27 2018

Kiwis fear impact of tourism crush

New Zealanders are worried about the impact of growing tourist numbers, a new survey shows.

Commissioned by Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Industry Aotearoa, the survey found the vast majority of people agree international tourism is good for New Zealand.

But about 40 percent remain concerned about the pressure tourism growth is putting on the country.

Those concerns include accommodation shortages, congestion on the roads, environmental damage, freedom camping and road safety.

On the other side of the world in Venice, the tourism crush has reached such epic proportions that authorities have installed temporary gates at the ends of two bridges to turn back visitors over the Mayday weekend if numbers become overwhelming.

The effect of mass tourism is so smothering that Venice has long debated the possibility of setting a limit on the number of visitors who can enter each day.

CEO of Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Chris Roberts said the New Zealand tourism industry was working with local communities to try and manage visitor impact in tourism hotspots and maintain positive attitudes towards internationals.

“Queenstown and Auckland are the areas that are most concerned about the pressure from international tourism, and overall perceptions from around the Queenstown area tend to be more negative than the other centres surveyed,” he said.

The survey showed that most Kiwis don’t understand the value of tourism to the national economy, with just 13 percent of those surveyed aware that it is the country’s biggest export industry.

“Something that we need to do better at is explaining how important tourism is to New Zealand and what a contribution it makes to our economy,” Mr Roberts said.

While New Zealand is experiencing record visitor numbers, we have a long way to go before seeing the kind of tourism squeeze choking Dubrovnik in Croatia or the Greek island of Santorini, where authorities have put limits on the number of tourists they are prepared to absorb.

Low-cost flights, the booming cruise ship industry and home-letting websites such as Airbnb have all been blamed for filling desirable destinations with visitors and emptying them of locals.

About Kate Jackson

2 comments

  1. Most people I know are most concerned about the impact of un-controlled camping, with overcrowding and the fire and health risk this type of situation presents, things like 60 people crowded into an area so small that vehicles are trapped in and only 1 toilet with no hand washing facilities, or hot water to wash their dished or or themselves.
    Most Kiwis perception of freedom camping is in places where there is no-one else near them, and usually only has boat, walking or 4wd access. and even if there is normal vehicle access not camping every night in a place with no facilities and crowds of people.

    • So true. They all talk about wanting to get away from everything but in the race to the free end up squeezing into unsafe situations. But councils have their heads in the sand and seem to think 60 people around a long drop toilet is a way to welcome guests to our country. Never mind as a community we decided long drop toilets were unsanitary back in the 60,s and they were banned from houses.
      The rubbish being propagated around numbers fails to have any balance. The Sunshine Coast has as many visitors as NZ every year and copes without many issues. The London underground moves more people a week than visit NZ in a year. One tourist attraction in France attracts the same number of people as visit NZ in a year so we need to keep it real.
      The only thing we have a lot more of than anywhere in the world is people crapping everywhere in our public spaces because we fail to understand that this type of tourism is not needed. Let the Kiwis enjoy the big outdoors but why every young backpacker who just doesnt care

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