Our success with tourism will end up with Kiwis having to pay to use our own country

Charging tourists will inevitably end up with citizens having to pay to walk our national parks.

International tourists may have to start paying to visit our national parks as the Department of Conservation struggles to cope with the tourism boom.

Concern about pressures on conservation land from swelling international visitor numbers has prompted the Conservation Authority to start investigating “charging mechanisms” to pay for the increasing costs of handling those numbers.

Last year, tourism replaced the dairy industry as the top foreign exchange earner for the first time in five years, bringing in $13.5 billion, compared with $13b for dairy.

A total of 3.1 million tourists visited New Zealand last year, but the tourism sector predicted numbers to grow by nearly another million in about five years.   Read more »

Don’t just suspend their licence, stick them on the next flight home


What is the problem with dickhead tourists coming here thinking they are immune from the law?  Would it be because, in a way, they are?

A UK tourist had his licence suspended on the spot after police clocked him driving at 150kph in a rental car.

He was caught near Kumara Junction Highway, on the South Island’s West Coast. Read more »


Surely Labour will oppose this?

It looks like we are set for a bumper year of tourism, though I’m expecting Labour will oppose the tourism from people with chinky-sounding names.

Nearly 50,000 Chinese holidaymakers will shortly land in New Zealand as experts forecast the biggest “golden week” for Chinese tourists in our history.

January and February are traditionally New Zealand’s busiest and most lucrative tourism months but it is the growth in Chinese holiday visitors that is pushing the industry to new peaks.

The so-called “golden week” starting February 7 coincides with the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday week and China’s middle class goes on the move particularly to destinations like Thailand and Japan, but also further afield to places such as New Zealand.

Increased air capacity to New Zealand from China is also helping.   Read more »


Doomsayers predict a $22 border tax will ruin our tourism industry

A new fee on travellers kicks in today to cover the bill for increasing border security costs as New Zealand’s tourism sector booms.

The border levy of $21.57 will be imposed on air travellers and those arriving and departing the country on private craft.

Cruise ship passengers will have to pay slightly more – $26.22 – because of the additional biosecurity assessments required at ports.

But New Zealand Institute for Economic Research principal economist Kirdan Lees said while it was clear funding was needed to cover increasing costs at the border, the Government was going about it the wrong way.

“A border charge would simply discourage much of the behaviour we want to encourage – tourists to visit and spend money in New Zealand,” he said.

New Zealand could expect 34,000 fewer tourists due to the border change, Dr Lees said.

“The cost of GST also makes New Zealand less attractive as a destination. A border charge would only add to these costs making New Zealand less competitive as a destination.” Read more »

The money or the goodfeelz?


An Argentine visitor may be a bit blue while reflecting on the scenery at Lake Pukaki after losing his passport and wallet stuffed with cash at the popular tourist spot.

A good Samaritan found the wallet containing Tomas Arce’s passport, bank cards and travel tickets, along with more than $5000 worth of Argentine pesos and US dollars floating around the air yesterday.   Read more »


A newspaper editor defends Key’s Pandaring


The Prime Minister’s pursuit of a new national flag has created a rod for his own back. Now, every time he tries to advance something that does not address one of the country’s more pressing problems, he is harangued. This week, it was the United Future leader, Peter Dunne, questioning his priorities over the prospect of pandas residing at the Wellington Zoo.

The criticism was misplaced. The Wellington City Council is assessing the business case for joining Adelaide as the only Southern Hemisphere city with the animals. As the Minister of Tourism, John Key has an obvious interest in this. If Wellington Zoo could replicate Adelaide, where visitor numbers shot up after the pandas arrived, there are clear benefits for the city and the country. Read more »

Taking the keys off idiot tourists is the first step

Police wouldn’t let someone wander around with a firearm, so why is driving a half-ton vehicle less dangerous?

Police seized the car keys of a tourist driver who repeatedly drove on the wrong side of the road, ignored a stop sign and almost caused several accidents.

Dunedin police officers rushed to Larnach Castle, near Dunedin, this afternoon after receiving “multiple calls” about the driver’s erratic behaviour behind the wheel.

The tourist had been involved in a series of near misses with fellow motorists on the 10km stretch of windy road leading to the castle.

Acting senior sergeant James Ure said vehicles travelling along the Otago Peninsula were forced to take evasive action to avoid head-on collisions when the car crossed the centre line.

“We had multiple calls of a rental car driving on the incorrect side of the road and straddling the centre of the road,” Ure said.

“There’s been a number of times he’s been driving on the wrong side of the road with oncoming traffic.”  Read more »

Credit where it’s due: at least this has the potential to be useful

Paula Bennett

Paula Bennett

Overseas travel agents are being offered free training to help them explain New Zealand’s road rules and conditions to tourists.

It’s the latest road safety initiative in response to a spate of accidents earlier this year involving foreign drivers.

Publicity around the accidents led to some ugly incidents and in several cases irate locals seized keys from visitors. Read more »


Dear Lord…we have a hotel beds crisis now

Personally I blame Steve Joyce for this.

When you breed a culture of corporate welfare everyone wants in on the largesse.

A hotel investment advisor is calling on councils and the Government to offer rates relief to developers, saying the shortage of hotel rooms has reached critical levels in summer.

Colliers International’s head of hotels Dean Humphries said the number of rooms was growing by one percent compared with five percent annual growth in demand, due to record tourist numbers.

He said Auckland was actually losing hotel rooms with 40 percent being converted to apartments.

Mr Humphries said Tourism New Zealand’s new strategy to encourage visitors to come during the off-peak seasons was a good idea but it would not stop the growth in visitors in summer. Read more »

Will they try to stop marching backwards next?


The cheese eating surrender monkeys are pouring millions of euros into a campaign to change the perception that they are rude, obnoxious, garlic smelling frogs.

With the attractions of Paris, the Alpine ski resorts, Riviera beaches and excellent cuisine, France has been the most visited country since the 1980s, welcoming 84 million tourists last year.

But the country has also been wrestling for some time with its reputation as one of the rudest places on earth for tourists.

Now the French are being urged to be “more welcoming”, as France prepares to launch a multimillion-euro tourist investment fund aiming to boost tourist numbers to 100 million by 2020.

Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, announced on Thursday that the fund would be launched this autumn.

“Tourism is a national treasure that needs to be protected, nurtured and developed – that’s the aim of all these measures,” he said.

Tourism accounts for two million jobs in France and seven per cent of its wealth.  Read more »