Tourist season beginning

Against a backdrop of international uncertainty in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia and Iran at loggerheads – again – and incendiary rhetoric spouting from both sides of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the busy tourist season is showing signs of ramping up. For some the sabre rattling and threat of war will be off putting enough to make them look at safer options; for others it will be the long term trip of a life time.

For locals it might be the chance to catch up with relatives in other parts of the country, or attend one of the many festivals that occur in New Zealand over the course of summer. Numerous big musical acts are coming to visit New Zealand over the course of the summer, including Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters.

For airports this will be a busy time. Congestion both inside and outside the terminals, especially in Auckland. It will be challenging work for the ground staff keeping up with aircraft movements and for rental car companies trying to ensure enough of the right vehicle groups are available, and making sure that coming up to Christmas all of the servicing needs of vehicles are met so that the maintenance sections of their service yards are empty over the Christmas and New Year break.

Cathay Pacific shortly start flying A-350 aircraft into Christchurch, starting on 1 December 2017. This twin engine aircraft is known for its significantly quieter cabin. Emirates will continue flying their A-380 into Christchurch. Singapore airlines, which flies 777-200ER aircraft into Christchurch, are seeking to upgrade to A-350 jets.

Whilst exciting for the tourism industry, this all does come at a cost that is still not being adequately addressed. Every tourist that comes here will need transport, a roof over their head.

Small District Councils may find themselves struggling to pay for tourism infrastructure, such as public toilets, rest areas, car parking and camper van friendly sites as well as rubbish bins. They might also find a need to create designated freedom camping areas, so that those not wanting to use a camping ground have somewhere to go. Debates about how to pay for the infrastructure have resulted in suggestions of a one of levy or other payment at the border, which goes into a fund for such amenities. Others suggestions have included a user pays fee to access national parks to provide relief for local ratepayers.

The change of Government is yet to show anything in terms of tourism related policy. However some sort of policy announcements would be expected in the new year at the latest.

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