New Zealand minister rejects budget travellers

65
3
New Zealand minister rejects budget travellers

New Zealand's tourism minister has expressed his aversion to budget travellers, saying the country will not try to attract those who travel around our country on $10 a day, eating two-minute noodles. Stuart Nash said that the country would unashamedly continue to focus on high quality big spenders, despite one expert saying such visitors typically had a higher environmental footprint and didn't necessarily contribute more to the economy.

Nash said the country would continue to focus on big spender visitors after an announcement on Wednesday about plans to bolster the tourism workforce as the country s borders reopened. He said that it is unashamedly going to be high-quality tourists when it comes to targeting our marketing spin.

We are going to welcome backpackers but we are not going to target the people who put on Facebook how they can travel around our country on $10 a day, eating two-minute noodles. While the minister said backpackers and lower-budget visitors were still welcome in New Zealand, his focus on rich tourists has been controversial in the past.

Nash said in 2020 that the country would unashamedly target the wealthy, seek to attract a kind of tourist who flies business class or premium economy, hires a helicopter, eats at a high-end restaurant and then does a tour round Franz Josef. The proposals attracted some heat, with one commentator calling them snobby, elitist and out of touch. Professor James Higham, a professor of tourism at Otago University, said that high net worth individuals contributed more to New Zealand than budget travellers. He said that he hasn't seen any evidence for that.

The trend over the past decades has been for tourists to travel more, travel faster, produce more CO2, stay shorter and spend less at the destination.

He said that wealthy people often destroy the planet in the process of not contributing to destinations as they might have expected or hoped Big spenders are often the most environmentally damaging, especially to far flung destinations made in New Zealand. International students and backpackers who tend to be on a lower income, such as international students and backpackers, often stay longer in the country, and length of stay was directly correlated with cumulative in-country spending, he said.

Cruise ship visitors, for example, were typically affluent, but made up only 3% of visitor spending, despite being 9% of visitors. The economic contribution of cruise passengers is not good compared to students who come here to study, he said.

Budget travellers were often repeat visitors who came as backpackers might return as workers, or as tourists later in life, Higham said.

Nash said New Zealand is attempting to rebuild its tourism workforce after a year of being closed off from the world by the Pandemic protections.

Prior to Covid 19 international tourism made up a huge chunk of the country's economy's direct and indirect contribution is 9.3% of GDP but increasing visitor numbers has also prompted concerns about environmental degradation, overcrowding and pressure on infrastructure.