Tourism in New Zealand – Are these your holiday destinations this summer?
Imagine having more than 40,000 tourists, or 10 times the size of your population, visiting your local area this summer. What will that be like?
I live in Tasman, New Zealand, cosied up in an enviable lifestyle of sunshine, national parks and endless bike and walking trails.
Now consider this equation
SUN + BEACHES + PARKS = HOLIDAY DESTINATION.
Come Christmas, many of the locals not caught up in tourism and hospitality industries grumble and moan because our quiet and cruisy region gets flooded with visitors. But spare a thought for the asset managers and planners trying to work out how to meet the increased demand on water in drought prone periods or the pressure on sewerage systems during peak holiday times.
The challenge of being a holiday destination and dealing with a massive seasonal influx of visitors is faced by a few Councils around New Zealand, Thames-Coromandel (with beautiful Whitianga and Whangamata) and the Far North (think idyllic Paihia) were examples that immediately came to mind but when I set about finding out the magnitude of the challenge I was surprised by my findings.
Statistics New Zealand gather monthly guest figures at a territorial level. I compared the 2014 Estimated Resident Population (ERP) figure of each TA with the December Guest Arrivals as identified in the Tourism Accommodation Survey. It’s important to remember that the guest arrivals are identified through accommodation providers, so the figures are just a starting point when trying to assess visitor numbers.
|Territorial Authority||2014 ERP||Guest Arrivals||%|
|1. Mackenzie District||4320||48509||1122.9|
|2. Westland District||8640||69302||802.1|
|3. Kaikoura District||3640||20903||574.3|
|4. Queenstown-Lakes District||30900||158098||511.6|
|6. Hurunui District||12200||20623||169.0|
|7. Buller District||10550||17831||169.0|
|8. Grey District||13600||21998||161.8|
|9. Rotorua District||68500||109593||160.0|
|10. Taupo District||35100||53528||152.5|
Nelson and Tasman just scrape into the top twenty but it is the tiny councils of MacKenzie, Westland and Kaikoura that top the list when comparing population to visitor numbers.
Imagine the challenges to these councils dealing with this influx over summer… not to mention the even greater challenge of finding a spot for my sunbed at the beach!
But these issues are not limited to NZ – probably the biggest seasonal or event-based population growth is the City of Sturgis, South Dakota in the US. At the time of the annual Motorcycle Rally – in August each year – the population swells from just 6,500 to over 700,000, just for a week.
Apparently the line for the public toilets is a killer…