New Zealanders remain positive about the impact of tourism on this country and there's been a slight drop in the percentage who say there are too many visitors.

The six-monthly Mood of the Nation research, commissioned by tourist bodies, finds that 56 per cent of the 500 surveyed "strongly agree" that international tourism is good for the country and 41 per cent "agree".

The research is funded by the Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) and government-funded Tourism New Zealand. It found 22 per cent say there are too many international visitors, down 1 per cent on the last survey in November last year.

However, that is up from just 13 per cent worried there were too many visitors less than three years ago.


Since then visitor numbers have soared to nearly 3.8 million a year.

Concern that tourism growth was putting pressure on New Zealand dipped slightly from 40 per cent to 39 per cent of respondents in the latest survey.

The top three concerns about the impact of tourists were: Increased traffic congestion (41 per cent), risk of serious road accidents (39 per cent) and results in a higher number of road accidents (35 per cent)

Perceived benefits were: Economic growth in the regions (60 per cent), growth opportunities for businesses (59 per cent) and creates employment opportunities for residents (52 per cent).

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said the greatest value in the survey was the tracking of public sentiment over time.

"Since we initiated the Mood of the Nation in 2015, we have had very strong arrivals growth and a corresponding increase in public concern about things like pressure on infrastructure and congestion," he said.

"It is heartening that this trend has levelled off in the latest survey and overall sentiment has slightly improved."

The survey showed 91 per cent of New Zealanders are proud New Zealand is seen as an attractive visitor destination and 88 per cent took pride in making visitors feel welcome in New Zealand.

Pressure on infrastructure was the top concern New Zealanders had with international tourism; other concerns include accommodation shortages, environmental damage, freedom camping, traffic congestion and road safety.


Queenstown and Auckland continued to be seen as the areas under the most pressure from international tourism by residents. Perceptions from Queenstown tended to be more negative than in the other centres surveyed.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall said making sure high-value visitors chose New Zealand was the top objective.

"To do this, we target our marketing, PR and trade activity to high-yield markets such as Australia, China and North America and solely focus on promoting shoulder season travel so that spend is spread more evenly across the year, instead of just peak season.

"While our landscapes capture the imagination of prospective visitors to Aotearoa, it is manaakitanga, the very Kiwi act of hospitality and sharing, that sets New Zealand apart on the world stage as a highly desirable visitor destination and brings visitors back time and time again."

The research, undertaken by Kantar TNS, was conducted in March 2018.

Roberts said the tourism industry acknowledged that the rapid increase in visitor numbers has caught some communities by surprise and created some challenges. The industry was working with central and local government to respond to these challenges.

There had been a boost in funding for local infrastructure such as car parking and toilets in regional centres in the last budget but so far the new Government has been quiet on plans for the industry. Before the election Labour floated the idea of a tourism tax to help fund facilities.


International tourism contributes $14.5 billion a year to the economy and directly or indirectly employs one in seven New Zealanders.