NZ tourism growing, but is there enough room?


There are concerns about whether New Zealand has the accommodation supply to handle the future influx of tourists.

Figures released yesterday reveal national guest nights for February were up 7 percent on last year.

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Chris Roberts says the figures indicate "consistent tourism growth New Zealand is experiencing".

However, he doesn't believe it's something that we need to worry about at the moment.

"We do need to respond to that and there will need to be more rooms to be available. Right now New Zealand is busy but not full."

But new rooms will be needed, he says, to avoid reaching that "full situation".

"We are going to need more accommodation offerings in the future."

Mr Roberts says the figures, compiled by Statistics New Zealand, don't take into peer-to-peer accommodation, however, and they don't pay too much attention to them -- but they are good at showing an indication in trends.

Peer-to-peer accommodation sites like Airbnb, Bookabach and Bachcare provide accommodation across the country -- and may account for a number of guest options.

Mr Roberts says it's likely the peer-to-peer accommodation sector will continue to increase in popularity and will help to keep the supply side under control.

The NZ Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) says there will be a strong influx of tourism.

According to their quarterly predictions, "lower oil prices increase flight capacity and bring more people to New Zealand".

Mr Roberts agrees with this and says many airlines are adding flights to New Zealand.

"We know there is going to be more seats available, in a year's time than there are now."

But infrastructure investment is the tourism industry's number one priority, he adds.


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