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Tourist overcrowding opportunity for other areas

Tourist overcrowding an opportunity for other areas

While overcrowding of our most popular tourist areas raises issues about the future management of New Zealand tourism, and particularly the issue of access for New Zealanders, there are a variety of possible responses, Green Tourism Spokesperson Mike Ward said today.

"While some areas are now being over-exposed to growing numbers of tourists, this is a great opportunity to start promoting less well known areas and spreading our tourists over greater areas," said Mr Ward.

"While the Abel Tasman National Park is overcrowded during the summer months, Nelson's great winter weather offers the possibility of making the Abel Tasman a year round treat.

"Combining the food, arts, eco, adventure and cultural sectors provides the potential for extending the regions' currently limited tourism sector beyond the warmer months," he said.

Mr Ward acknowledged the concern of the Federated Mountain Clubs that promoting lesser known attractions, such as the Kahurangi National Park, is likely to expose those attractions to the same risks that force the current favourites.

However, careful management, restrictions on the commercial operators and learning from earlier experiences hindsight should provide adequate protection for those places that has been sadly lacking to date for the current pressure points.

"Local authorities also have a responsibility to provide protection in their resource management plans from inappropriate accommodation initiatives such as the 500-bed proposal planned for the already crowded Abel Tasman National Park in Marahau," he said.

"What is becoming quite clear is that we must better manage the resources we have that put us on the tourist map. We should also remember that exposing people to the great outdoors enhances awareness of a range of conservation issues and makes people more likely to care for their environment."

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