The recently released Tourism New Zealand Annual Report 2017/2018 outlines a dramatic change in the visitor landscape and the increasing role the organisation is playing to support sustainable growth in the sector.
In the year to June 2018, New Zealand welcomed 3.8 million visitors (up 3.8% on 2017), of which 1.9 million were here on holiday. Tourism New Zealand exceeded its goal of a 2% differential between international visitor spend in the regions and main centres, and for the year to June 2018 an estimated additional $471m had been contributed to the regions.
Stephen England-Hall, Tourism New Zealand’s Chief Executive, said that while 96% of New Zealanders agree international tourism is good for New Zealand, there are pressure points around accommodating visitor growth. England-Hall said: “Over the past year we have focused on solutions to these pressures including regional and seasonal dispersal –encouraging visitors to travel in our shoulder seasons (September to November; March to May) and promoting less visited regions.
“It’s a strategy that is working, with growth in arrivals outside the peak season and spend in our regions up by $373 million over the past year. Encouraging visitors beyond core destination experiences and outside of summer avoids over-tourism. It protects regional identity and resources, kick-starts economic development in the regions and grows the value of visitors. Of course, it takes time and while we have seen growth in the number of people now travelling to New Zealand in shoulder seasons, it is slower than we would like.” Driving shoulder season arrivals has been the focus of the New Zealand Government and industry for many years and shifting consumer preferences continues to be challenging, particularly as high-value travellers tend to travel when a destination is perceived to be at its best.”
Photo: The Redwoods Rotorua Graeme Murray