The quiet achiever – tourism

Tourism is a quiet but significant achiever in New Zealand, with numbers and generated income reaching record levels.

Radio NZ: Migration, tourism raise economic hopes

The economy has accelerated following a lacklustre first half of the year, when lower dairy prices cast a pall over growth.

Two of the mainstays of growth – net migration and tourism – hit fresh all-time highs last month.

Fewer departures and more arrivals fuelled the sixteenth successive month of record annual net migration gains to 63,700 people, while swelling numbers of Chinese travellers boosted visitor numbers to 3.09 million.

Tourism New Zealand: Bumper start to the summer season for tourism industry

The tourism industry is gearing up for its biggest summer yet after another significant month of growth – international arrivals were up 11.1 per cent for the month of November.

Figures released today by Statistics New Zealand show total international arrivals up 8.9 per cent and holiday arrivals up 13.4 per cent for the full year ending November.

They are significant increases in a year.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says all signs point towards another record summer season for the industry.

“The last 12 months have delivered our biggest tourism results on record with arrivals and spend both hitting new highs.

Growth from a variety of markets (arrival figures for the full year to November):

  • China up 39.9%
  • Australia up 6.4%
  • Indonesia up 11.7%
  • India up 22.8%
  • Brazil up 3.6%
  • Germany up 11.1%
  • US up 12.4%
  • UK up 9.5%

Shortage of accommodation and shortage of trained workers are becoming issues. It’s difficult for tourism companies to keep up with this level of growth.

A solid economy is helping grow business like tourism.

One could wonder whether the Minister of Tourism does things other than goof around on radio stations.

John Key and Bill English will look with some satisfaction at the positives.

It’s perhaps significant that the person supposedly being groomed for leadership of National, Paula Bennett, is Associate Minister of both Finance and Tourism.

Clayton Cosgrove is Labour’s spokesperson for tourism. He has been all but invisible this year, but has just recently taken over the Tourism responsibilities from Peeni Henare, who was given the role as a new MP last year.

Labour seem to put a much lower priority on Tourism. Neither Henare nor Cosgrove have issued any press releases on tourism this year.

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  1. Brown

     /  23rd December 2015

    I wonder how much is due to the perception we are a safe destination? That could change in an instant of course.

  2. David

     /  23rd December 2015

    Labour need to keep tourism low down in priority or else they run the danger of saying something positive about something.
    There are some incredible numbers coming through but I wish they would put in the Milford Sound rail thing and build that West Coast road. NZ is hellishly difficult to get around compared to other countries.

    • Mefrostate

       /  23rd December 2015

      I worked on the Fiordland monorail. Sadly, with the passing of Bob Robertson, it’s unlikely to ever proceed.

  3. We bought a house in Matamata (aka Hobbiton) a few months ago with the intention of running a B&B. Buyer beware and all that but anytime we saw the house was on a weekend with not many truckls on the road. Sweet Jesus! it’s 24/7 and we couldn’t ask anyone to pay money to sleep here. How is arguably one of the best known destinations in NZ not worthy of a bypass? We’re told the amount of traffic doesn’t warrant it but that would be from people who don’t live here.

    The town is inundated with tourists who could easily make it a base to travel around the Cooromandel, Bay of Plenty etc but they take their lives in their hands just trying to cross the main street in the town!

    I suppose the Minister for Tourism will take the credit for the increase in figures – all care and no responsibility.

  4. Tourism certainly appears to be a very attractive industry and this, consequently, very good news for the nation, but it’s only in the short-term, blinkered sense of orthodox economics.
    It seems non-polluting, is people intensive, supports a range of business sizes etc …

    It’s good news for the next month, the next tourist season or quarter, the next year perhaps, the next economic cycle. It’s good while the exchange rate and oil price is low and while no amount of industry growth leads to any significant increases in pay for the low-waged and/or underemployed.

    Scratch tourism and you’ve got problems though, some of which are more apparent than others. “Invariably, this ‘intentionally developed’ tourism industry creates an exploitive relationship with tourists, which then extends to an exploitive relationship with the local culture, heritage and environment as they become instruments for extracting profit. The tourist seldom engages with the reality … but is exposed to a sanitized and unrealistic facade … the economic benefits (might) have enormous social and cultural costs” (Ross)

    This is particularly true of what I call “bulk tourism”, where, for instance, the tourist arrives on their national airline, travels NZ in a bus with a language speaking guide, stays in and visits retail outlets run by people of their own culture, perhaps short-term visa workers themselves?

    “If many sophisticated tourists today recognize the falseness of a typical tourist environment, perhaps there is a way to encourage tourism without constructing a bubble. Moreover, isolating shopping and entertainment in a tourist district makes it easy to point to the concrete benefits of tourism while potential negative effects–a decline in public space, a lack of affordable housing, a strain on natural resources–are harder to see, not only for visitors but also for locals, because these effects are more dispersed. In short, the struggle to assure tourism has an equitable impact requires considering the image created by neighborhoods where tourists visit. It must be clear to tourists and residents alike who is benefiting from tourism” (Paul Mason Fotsch)

    from this rather lengthy and perhaps somewhat hi-brow article –

    You might be thinking, “Here’s this leftie being negative again, he should go join the Labour party”. Well, no thanks on the latter and no, here’s me being ‘considered’. I reckon tourism is a great industry requiring a great deal of consideration especially around ‘sustainability’.

    • Mefrostate

       /  23rd December 2015

      None of these points are NZ-specific.

      • @ Mf – You’re kidding me, right? Japanese tourists in Japanese company buses staying in Japanese owned hotels visiting Japanese owned souvineer (sic) shops to buy ‘Kiwi’ trinkets “made in Japan”. This didn’t happen in the 70s and 80s? I dunno whether it still does, I imagine so.

        Are you telling me the new Karikari Peninsula Chinese resort isn’t going to be mostly built and staffed by Chinese labour, with Maori providing the sanitised cultural performance and maybe arts (trinket?) component? (I exaggerate for effect of course). It’s not necessarily ‘bad’, as I clearly stated, it’s just a question of what consideration has been given it.

        There’s another comment on this very thread about Hobbiton. If this isn’t an example of the NZ “themed environment” I’d be very pleased to see the evidence or alternatively to know what is? We don’t have any “themed environments”?

        Oh, yes, this is Kiwi-specific all right, make no mistake.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  23rd December 2015

          My wife works part-time in a little co-op gift type shop run by about six local women. Our equivalent of the bulk tourism is the big cruise ships that visit the Bay – over fifty visits this summer, most with several thousand passengers. She commented this morning that the Chinese are better customers than Aussies and Kiwis. Although the summer season is crazy it is also quite nice to live in a place people come to to enjoy themselves and feel happy and relaxed. Other than in the week between Xmas and New Year there is plenty of capacity for increased tourism without causing harm.


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