New Zealand wants to move away from insta-tourism to a luxury travel destination

In 2018, a funny message went around only at first sight: social media users reported a “traffic jam in the mountains”. Behind it was a photographic motif in New Zealand that was so famous at the time that tourists lined up to take the best snapshot for Instagram.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

New Zealand’s gigantic coastal and mountain landscapes, famous around the world since the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, are truly “Instagrammable”. Some places were so popular that before the pandemic, social media influencers even had to queue to get their “perfect photo” in front of their lens.

New Zealand offers photo opportunities to dream of

“New Zealand’s travel destinations have been ruined by social media,” New Zealand news outlet Stuff said four years ago. The outrage of the time, far from confined to Stuff newsrooms, was sparked by photos of Roy’s Peak, a mountain south of Lake Wanaka in New Zealand’s South Island, which showed a long line for the photo. improve. Roy’s Peak is a particularly idyllic place: a narrow path leads to the top of a ridge, from where you have a panoramic view of the lake below and other mountains. Between 2016 and 2018 alone, the number of visitors increased by 12% and stopped at 73,000 per year.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

Of course, Roy’s Peak isn’t the only popular spot in New Zealand. The secluded Cathedral Cove on the North Island, a small church on Lake Tekapo, baths designed by renowned Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and, of course, Milford Sound, a giant fjord on the South Island, are coveted photographic motifs that attract hordes of tourists from around the world decreased. In 2019, 900,000 vacationers visited Milford Sound, despite being so remote that even cell phones don’t have a signal there.

Tourists at Cathedral Cove in New Zealand.

Stop traveling under “social influence”.

Before Covid, New Zealand had already introduced a tourist tax due to the flow of visitors. And even during the pandemic, when New Zealand’s external borders were still tightly closed, the country invited the world to rethink: in January 2021, for example, the tourism authority launched a campaign asking local travelers in this case to stop the rethinking. -making photos that you have already seen online. Instead, they should “invent something new” and share it.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

The appeal was encapsulated in a two-minute video in which comedian Tom Sainsbury, posing as a Social Observation Squad (SOS) officer, followed tourists to some of the country’s most famous landmarks. He ordered vacationers to stop traveling “under social influence” and pitted a list of posts on social media: “Photographed from behind in the hot tub.” “The man sits quietly on a rock and thinks.” Hot dog legs.

The end of unlimited buses

New Zealand has been aware for years of the positive and negative “side effects” of tourism. But even before Covid, tourism was the country’s largest export, accounting for 20% of the export market and nearly 10% of the gross domestic product. That loss has weighed heavily over the past two years and it is no surprise that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently pointed out that New Zealand was ready to “welcome the world”.

At the same time, however, the country has been discussing for months how to spread tourism. “Nipped in the pandemic and survived domestic tourism for two years, the industry has a choice: revive the old ways or create a new model,” said an analysis in the academic journal The Conversation.

From high-end vacationers to “top” tourists.

As early as late 2020, a tourism summit discussed that the country should in future target purely wealthy vacationers, the type of tourists who fly business class or premium economy, rent a helicopter, and eat at a high-end restaurant. . Tourism Secretary Stuart Nash asked the crowd at the time, “Do you think we want to become a destination for budget-conscious campers and backpackers, leaving wealthy travelers in other countries?”

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

Then, in July, he turned down unlimited bus days and promised “more sustainable tourism”. In the meantime – after his ideas have also led to some criticism – he wants to attract the “best” vacationers, that is, those who give back more than they get, who appreciate employees in the tourism sector, love to get to know people and places and always attentive to the environment. On the spot, however, this new approach could make some destinations significantly more expensive: Milford Sound – which will become a sort of test laboratory – is discussing a limit on the number of visitors and perhaps even a tariff.

Leave a Comment