Concerns around pressure from growing international tourism
New research by Angus & Associates shows that while New Zealanders recognise the value of tourism, there is widely held concern that international visitors are putting too much pressure on the country. Ninety five percent of New Zealanders agree that international tourism is good for New Zealand.
"Tourism is our largest export earner and directly employs almost 200,000 people, so the value of the industry to New Zealand should not be understated" Managing Director, Cristine Angus says. "Our research highlights that we need to ensure that the benefits of tourism continue to outweigh any adverse impacts - including efforts to better manage or reduce those impacts, whilst also working with communities to communicate these benefits and retain public support for tourism".
Angus & Associates' Views On Tourism research canvassed opinions from a representative sample of 3700 New Zealand and Australian residents between July 2017 and March 2018. Participants were asked about their views on the value of inbound and domestic tourism and the extent to which they agreed or disagreed that tourism is producing adverse impacts.
Angus says "while both New Zealanders and Australians are in almost unanimous agreement in their view on the value of tourism, there is quite a strong difference in perceptions when it comes to impacts of international tourism on each country. Forty nine percent of New Zealanders say international visitors are putting too much pressure on New Zealand, while twenty five percent of Australians say international visitors are putting too much pressure on Australia. At a regional level, residents of New Zealand’s core tourism regions are more concerned about pressure from inbound tourism compared to residents of other regions, and early indications from our next phase of research suggests that pressure on local infrastructure and issues such as freedom camping may be causing particular concerns for residents”.
With international visitor numbers forecast to continue growing at around five percent per year through to 2023, the industry needs to continue with its efforts to manage and mitigate the impacts of tourism. "It's important that the tourism industry continues to work with stakeholders to protect and promote this valuable industry and maintain support for it across our communities". Angus says.
New Zealanders and Australians share similar positive perceptions around the impacts of domestic tourism on their respective countries, though around one-in-five respondents from each country also have concerns about the impact that domestic tourism is having on both their region and their respective countries overall.
Angus says “there are a number of possible reasons for New Zealanders' contrasting perceptions of domestic and international tourism, including domestic visitors tending to have more varied travel patterns, or greater tolerance of perceived “anti-social” behaviour, such as freedom camping or driving standards by domestic visitors compared to overseas visitors, and we intend to provide more insight on this as the research programme continues to grow.”
With the rapid growth of tourism having a significant impact on Social License to Operate internationally, it is becoming increasingly important that industry bodies, local authorities, RTOs/EDAs and private operators understand the impact that tourism has on residents and stakeholders in their region.
Angus & Associates is actively seeking opportunities to partner with relevant stakeholders in order to support and drive the development of the Views on Tourism research so that changes over time can be measured, and the issues driving and/or undermining support in each region can be identified on an ongoing basis.
The 'Views on Tourism' summary of findings is available from www.angusassociates.co.nz/views-on-tourism-research