International visitor support on the rebound - survey

Support for international tourists in Aotearoa has rebounded, according to a new survey.

Angus & Associates has been conducting research on New Zealanders' views on tourism since 2018.

Managing director Chris Roberts said the 2022 report showed support for international tourism was at its highest level since the survey began.

It reached a rating of net positive 44, after dropping to 28 in 2021, and was up from the 2018 rating of net positive 42.

The rating considers both the positive and negative impacts of tourism on communities when giving an overall score.

The research suggested support was driven by communities benefiting from the return of visitors and avoiding issues associated with high visitor numbers, he said.

The border closure had also impacted attitudes.

"It seems that Kiwis are now more aware of the benefits that tourism activity in their community can deliver, because they have also seen what is lost when there are no international visitors," Roberts said.

"Visitor numbers will keep increasing as airline capacity grows, and the tourism industry must remain very mindful of sharing tourism's benefits and eliminating its burdens."

He encouraged regions to continue to support and implement Destination Management Plans, saying it was vital to have social licence within their communities.

"Having seen for themselves the impact of closed borders, Kiwis have become more aware of the local benefits that international tourism brings. But quite rightly, they are also not prepared to bear the brunt of poorly managed tourism."

A reduced sense of belonging in communities and pressure on community infrastructure remained key negative sentiments towards international tourism, while New Zealanders appreciated more local businesses being open, an improvement in services and more sustainable behaviour.