Nearly one in five New Zealanders are worried about the influx of tourists, according to a survey by Tourism Industry Aotearoa and Tourism New Zealand.

While more than a quarter of Kiwis believe the country gets too few visitors, 19 per cent are worried the country may be attracting too many, the latest Mood of the Nation research has found.

This is up from 13 per cent a year ago.

Compared to the previous surveys, New Zealanders' understanding of the size and importance of the tourism industry had improved slightly although most Kiwis continue to underestimate the number of international visitors arriving in New Zealand each year.


About 3.4 million arrived in the past year.

The main benefits of international tourism are considered to be business opportunities and economic growth.

Road accidents and traffic congestion were the top concerns of survey respondents. Overcrowding, a lack of infrastructure and environmental impacts were also mentioned.

The research, which was started in 2015 and is being carried out six monthly, measures New Zealanders' perceptions of tourism.

The latest survey was conducted in November with the majority of responses received before the Kaikoura earthquake November 14.

Tourism New Zealand acting chief executive Brighid Kelly said the latest results reinforced the issue we have been aware of and targeting for some time.

"Growth in international tourism is putting pressure on some communities," Kelly said. "We believe concerns are exacerbated by our visitor concentration in summer and at key tourist hot spots.

Tourism New Zealand's current strategy is now only promoting travel in the shoulder seasons, and focusing our efforts on encouraging travel into more regions.

We believe concerns are exacerbated by our visitor concentration in summer and at key tourist hot spots.

Tourism delivers around $40 million in foreign exchange to the New Zealand economy every day. Domestic tourism contributes another $55 million in economic activity every day.

Tourism is New Zealand's biggest export earner, contributing $14.5 billion or 20.7 per cent of New Zealand's foreign exchange earnings for the year ended March 2016.

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts says the concerns raised in the survey have been important for focusing industry efforts, with a number of important initiatives in place to address concerns.

"We have been working closely with government agencies and industry to improve the safety of visiting drivers. We are championing the provision of tourism infrastructure to support tourism value growth, including researching future infrastructure needs and funding options.

"The tourism industry is committed to managing tourism growth in a way that is sustainable and acceptable to our communities."

The next Mood of the Nation survey will be carried out towards the end of what is expected to be another record tourism summer.