Published on : Thursday, June 9, 2016
Tourism is the second highest contributor to New Zealand’s economy after diary. It is a $30 billion industry in New Zealand. But tourists can cause problems, disrupt residents and, occasionally, spark anger if they overstep cultural boundaries.
However, with more than 3.1 million tourists arriving on our shores, there are worries about creaking infrastructure, a lack of public toilets and the effects of overcrowding.
With more people tramping and a limited number of huts available, problems can arise on tracks where there is no limit to numbers.
Recently, there have been problems on the West Coast, with people using the pristine tracks to go to the toilet and the underfoot conditions deteriorating due to heavy traffic.
While Great Walks such as the world famous Milford Track have limits to daily numbers, most walks in New Zealand are wide open.
The condition of tracks can deteriorate, others try to dodge paying and, in May, sand dunes near Wellington were turned into makeshift toilets.
Popular attractions can get crazy busy, especially in summer.
It all depends on the type of attraction and to be fair there have been grumbles about tourism since its very beginning in the Victorian era.
When Chinese actress and social media star Yao Chen’s wedding was held in Queenstown, the resulting international profile was a massive boon for the resort town.
As the resort’s profile and hype increase, so too the concerns about overcrowding, housing and infrastructure.
No selfies please
In February, the Tekapo community reacted with when it emerged tourists were pooing near a church site and leaving rubbish strewn around.
Selfies were banned at the interdenominational Church of the Good Shepherd, a much photographed building on the shore of Lake Tekapo visited by an estimated 100,000 tourists each year.
Lake Tekapo is also the most-Instagrammed place in New Zealand. It’s a nice place, but it’s overrun with tour buses, one TripAdvisor says
It ties in with the whole issue of freedom camping and the influx of tourists to New Zealand, particularly in the summer months.
Small towns and regions with low populations have been hit hardest by the influx.
Well, not unless you have the correct van and park in the right place. Freedom camping is a perennial bugbear in New Zealand, occasionally boiling over in places like Queenstown.
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