Tim Dower: Are we on the brink of overtourism?

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Fri, 8 Nov 2019, 9:27AM
Photo / Dean Purcell

Tim Dower: Are we on the brink of overtourism?

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Fri, 8 Nov 2019, 9:27AM

So we bought a slab of airtime on American telly and it seems we got it pretty cheaply.

$5 million worth of airtime, for about $100,000 spent on Steven Colbert and his crew.

On the face of it, cheap advertising.

And we've been doing this kind of activity, especially in the States, for a long time now.

It's all part of the mix of what's being done to get more people here and it's working. In the past decade or so, tourism numbers have exploded.

Stats NZ counted more than half a million coming through the gates in the peak month which is December last year.

Tourism employs well over 200,000 of us, 8 percent of all workers.

It's worth nearly $40 billion a year.

But is this growth, and the pace of it, all good.

It's only the beginning of summer, and already the campervans are out in hordes, I saw eight at the scenic on the Brynderwyns yesterday.

So are we on the brink of over-tourism?

I'd say we're close and I know some say oh let's just build more roads, put up some more hotels, create more car parks.

Over-tourism is a real problem in some parts of the world, Venice, Rome, Paris, they're getting sick of the crowds.

And when tourists with money to spend end up displacing locals from accommodation like in Queenstown, you've reached over-tourism.

Of course, it's great that people want to come here and spend their money.

But there's no such thing as a free lunch, and at some point we will start to harm what's so unique and attractive about this country, if we over indulge in tourism.

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