Kiwis are twice as likely than Australians to believe international visitors put too much pressure on their respective countries, according to new research.
Almost half of the New Zealanders surveyed – 49% – in Angus & Associate’s Views on Tourism report said they thought foreign visitors put too much pressure on the country. That compared with 25% of Australians.
By comparison, only about fifth of New Zealanders and Australians believed domestic tourism put too much pressure on their respective countries and regions.
At a regional level, just over a third, or 34%, of Kiwis thought foreign visitors put too much pressure on the region they lived in, whereas only 21% of Australians thought the same.
However, 95% of New Zealanders and 94% of Australians believed international tourism was good for the country.
“New Zealanders and Australians clearly recognise the value both of inbound and domestic tourism. However, there is concern about the pressure inbound tourism is placing on New Zealand and its regions,” said the report.
“Within the sample of New Zealand residents, there is a degree of discrimination in attitudes towards international tourism that is not present in the sample of Australian residents.”
A rating of approval for international tourism across New Zealand was lowest in Auckland and most South Island regions and highest in central and lower North Island. Almost all Australian states accepted or approved of international tourism.
At a regional level, Auckland residents were significantly more likely to be concerned about the impact of domestic visitors on their region than the national average in New Zealand.
“This may reflect the pressure tourism can create on existing infrastructure, but more broadly, it highlights that New Zealand’s urban centres were not necessarily immune from concerns around the impacts of growing tourism,” said the report.
Residents of regions in the central and lower North Island were again the most likely to have a positive perception around the impacts of visitors to their regions.
Managing director of Angus & Associates, Cristine Angus, said there were a number of reasons for New Zealanders’ contrasting perceptions of domestic and international tourism.
They included “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”.
“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,” said Angus.
With international visitor numbers forecast to continue growing at around 5% per year through to 2023, the industry needed 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,” said Angus.
The Views On Tourism research canvassed opinions from a representative sample of 3700 New Zealand and Australian residents between July 2017 and March 2018. The summary of findings is available from www.angusassociates.co.nz/views-on-tourism-research.