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‘Mood of the nation’ survey highlights tourism pressure points

New Zealanders remain positive about the level of international tourists visiting New Zealand, however our record summer of growth has highlighted key pressure points to be addressed.

‘Mood of the Nation’ research commissioned by Tourism New Zealand and the Tourism Industry Association (TIA) measured New Zealanders’ perceptions of tourism. One survey was conducted in December before the peak season and one in late March 2016, with over 1000 New Zealanders interviewed across the two surveys.

New Zealanders have a mixed knowledge of the tourism industry. There is a tendency to underestimate the value of tourism to the economy and the number of people it employs. However, attitudes towards visitors are generally positive. Only 14% of respondents consider New Zealand is attracting too many visitors and the majority think that New Zealand is well equipped to handle current international visitor numbers.

There are concerns that some areas are coming under pressure and when asked about future growth in international visitor arrivals, 30% are worried that growth could be too high.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says: “We know the level of growth of tourism affects all New Zealanders and we wanted to test the public acceptance of this tourism boom. The research taps into what New Zealanders see as the benefits and the downsides of tourism. It provides valuable information about what people are most concerned about and where we need to focus our work and the work of our stakeholders”.

The main issues raised in the research are road safety, potential damage to the environment, lack of accommodation and freedom camping. Mr Bowler says while it is reassuring that most people recognise that tourism provides significant economic benefit and jobs for New Zealand, it is also important to recognise that work is already underway to tackle some of the key issues identified. 

“Tourism New Zealand and TIA are working with other agencies and playing an important part in addressing road safety for foreign drivers. We are also involved in a major piece of work to identify and improve accommodation supply and most significantly, we are driving shoulder season travel which is helping to relieve pressure on infrastructure at peak times. 

“Our spring growth was greater than peak season growth and the latest figures for early autumn show the trend is continuing, with a 26.3 % increase in holiday arrivals in March, compared to the same period last year.”   

TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says the widespread support in the community for the tourism industry is heartening. It shows that people are noticing the benefits that visitors bring, supporting local economies and adding vibrancy to communities.

“Overall, the perceived positives of international tourism remain far more prominent that the negatives, with safety and congestion on our roads the primary concern.

“Every day, in every region of New Zealand, visitors are having a positive impact. And it’s great that Kiwis want to be welcoming hosts. Manaakitanga is what makes the New Zealand visitor experience unique.”

The survey results suggest that in general people are less concerned about issues such as freedom camping than media headlines might suggest.

“The industry has already been actively addressing the issues raised by some Mood of the Nation respondents, such as freedom camping and road safety. TIA leads the Responsible Camping Forum which is working to better manage freedom camping around the country, and we have been closely involved in the Government-led Visiting Drivers Safer Journeys project, including setting up www.drivesafe.org.nz.”  

Download the full results from the Mood of the Nation research. 

For further information, please contact:

Trish Green

Senior Communications Advisor

Tourism New Zealand

Mobile: 021 243 0386

Email: trish.green@tnz.govt.nz


Ann-Marie Johnson

Communications Manager

Tourism Industry Association New Zealand

DDI: 04 496 5001

Mobile: 027 600 4565

Email: ann-marie.johnson@tianz.org.nz