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Research has shown that New Zealanders overwhelmingly support international tourism although more are feeling the pressure. The Government, Tourism New Zealand and industry are working together to address the challenges seen in local communities, through a range of different activities. 

The Government, Tourism New Zealand and industry are working together to address the challenges seen in local communities, through a range of different activities.

Government strategy and investment:

Through its tourism strategy, the Government is supporting the tourism sector to reap the benefits of growth while managing the pressures this places on businesses, communities and infrastructure. The tourism strategy both aligns and coordinates government efforts supporting the sector to boost the economic contribution of tourism across the country and plan for the future.

The strategy focuses on three challenges:

  • attracting the right mix of visitors

  • ensuring visitors have a high quality experience

  • supporting regions to respond to and benefit from increasing visitor numbers.

It is designed to help the sector attract high-value visitors and investment, not only to tourism hotspots during peak seasons, but to a range of regions and throughout the year. Read more here

Learn more about the benefits of tourism here. 

Infrastructure and regional growth

The Government is investing $178 million in tourism infrastructure. The Tourism Infrastructure Fund provides up to $25 million per year for the development of tourism-related infrastructure such as carparks, freedom camping facilities, sewerage and water works and transport projects.

The Government’s Regional Mid-Sized Facilities fund, now closed, paid out more than $8 million to 42 tourism-related infrastructure projects in 2016 and 2017.

And through the Tourism Growth Partnership, the Government has partnered with the private sector in 33 unique tourism ventures to attract high-value visitors or support regional growth. Total government investment of $23.54 million has been matched by $67.35 million in private sector contributions.

The first round of the new $100 million Tourism Infrastructure Fund has attracted 43 eligible applications.

Tourism New Zealand

Tourism New Zealand’s work is focused entirely on managing the challenges of increased visitor numbers while delivering even more value to New Zealand. The organisation is strategically targeting higher-value visitors, encouraging visitation outside of our busy summer peak and promoting more of New Zealand’s lesser visited regions. Read about our four-year strategy here.


Since 2016, Tourism New Zealand has only promoted New Zealand as an off-peak destination, with a particular focus on autumn and spring. Change is occurring with the volume of international arrivals in the shoulder seasons now growing faster than peak: 13.1% in spring 2016 and autumn 2017 against peak summer growth of 8.3%. By smoothing out the peak season and encouraging a more even flow of international visitors, the industry can make better use of their capital, can provide more stable employment opportunities and investors will look more favourably on developing new infrastructure and amenities.

Regional dispersal

Since the start of FY17, Tourism New Zealand has taken a regional approach to its work in China. The activity is aimed at encouraging Chinese Free and Independent Travellers to experience the Wellington, Tasman, Marlborough and Nelson regions. Local operators and the RTOs have done a lot of work to ensure their product is China-ready. Activity has included marketing partnerships with Chinese travel sellers, trade training and the use of high-profile opinion leaders.

Our FY18 campaign – everyday a different journey - showcases a range of New Zealand regions. It seeks to encourage international visitors into the regions – spreading visitation across the country.

At the start of 2017, a ‘test’ campaign was run in Australia to assess whether Tourism New Zealand could shift consumer behaviour by marketing a single region to Victorians – that region was Northland. The test was run in Melbourne and used Sydney consumers as a control group so results could be compared. The test used a range of data sources to show impact including Facebook data, credit card transactions and data from trade partners.

Higher value visitors

Through our special interest strategy, our focus on premium visitors and its work around winning international business events, Tourism New Zealand is firmly focused on attracting higher value visitors. This work first began in the second half of 2013.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa 

The New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment aims to see every New Zealand tourism business committed to sustainability by 2025.

Department of Conservation

Part of the Government’s investment has been directed to the Department of Conservation who are delivering a programme of work aimed managing visitor growth across the conservation estate.

Tourism New Zealand is working in partnership with DOC to develop world-class experiences that deliver value to New Zealanders and our international visitors. DOC and TNZ are working together to understand the needs of visitors to support better product development, to increase visitor awareness of the range of experiences available on the DOC estate and encourage visitors into new regions.

The first project in this partnership is the identification and promotion of New Zealand’s best day and short walks. Read more here.

Cross-agency activity

Across Government and industry, significant activity is underway to support driver safety through the NZTA-led Safer Journeys – Visiting Drivers programme Tourism New Zealand is playing its part by working to influence consumers’ behaviour before they have even booked their holiday, to stop and think – ‘is self-drive in New Zealand really for me?’ We are taking every opportunity to communicate the message of safer driving to trade agents and consumers. We also have an ability to reach out to travellers once they are here via social media and have run several campaigns posting safer driving reminders to international visitor via their social media channels.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) have carried out analysis into demand and supply of 3-star+ hotel accommodation and identified where hotel shortages may impact on communities. You can read the research report here.

From there, NZTE have led a programme of work to attract foreign investment into New Zealand as part of the Government’s Investment Attraction Strategy. Since mid-2016 NZTE has been working with regional authorities and developers to identify approximately 20 potential sites for new hotel infrastructure around New Zealand.

Community efforts

And communities are taking action as well…manaakitanga at its best:

  1. Some 1500 Kiwi families opened their homes free of charge to Lions fans and supporters. Why we did it: “I thought if New Zealanders were keen to open up their homes that would be pretty cool and it just grew and blossomed from there,”

  2. Queenstown families hosting 100+ seasonal workers to help with ski season