New Zealand has been on the front line of a sea of tourism-boosting climate change, with a surge in visitors and an uptick in the number of hotels and resorts that have sprung up to accommodate the influx of visitors.
New Zealand tourism is set to overtake Australia’s for the first time ever in 2021, with more than one-third of the population expected to visit by the end of this year.
The new wave of visitors has been driven by a boom in tourism that is largely fuelled by climate change.
New ZE tourism in 2021 has been estimated at $11.6 billion, a record for the country.
According to figures released on Tuesday by the Tourism Industry Council, more than 60 per cent of New Zealand’s hotels, resort and guesthouses are expected to close in 2021.
This includes many that have been on site for decades, such as Kaitaia and the Kaitapu National Park.
The TIC, which has been involved in planning and management of New ZA tourism, said there was a huge increase in demand from people from Asia and the Pacific Rim as well as the Caribbean and the US.
NewZA is one of only four countries that has been hit by a major sea level rise since 1995, and New Zealand is one the worst affected countries.
The National Parks Service has issued an Emergency Alert, which means there is a high risk of flooding, particularly in areas where the infrastructure has been damaged or the roads have been washed away.
TIC chief executive Sue McElwee said this was a wake-up call for New Zealand.
“We’ve had a sea level increase and now we’re seeing that with our tourism industry and that’s a wake up call for us,” she said.
“This is about our ability to adapt, our ability in this challenging climate.”
McElwie said that the TIC had been working hard to develop the infrastructure to handle the climate change and said it was now focusing on ensuring that people would be able to get to and from their destinations.
“That’s the real challenge for us is how we manage this transition from sea level to what we need to be able and how we can maintain a good tourism industry,” she added.
“At the moment, we’re on track for a very good winter but in 2021 we’re going to see a lot more of flooding and flooding, especially in our areas where we’ve been planning for the worst.”
While there are still plenty of attractions in the New Zealand holiday destinations, McElwen said that there were many more people coming to the country for the summer and winter.
“There are plenty of opportunities for people to come here, but we’re not quite there yet.
We’re not in the middle of the iceberg yet,” she explained.
The tourism industry has been investing heavily in the new tourism infrastructure, with $1.7 billion allocated to the TICA last year.
However, she said there were still a lot of problems in terms of the climate.
“One of the things we’re working on is getting to know where people are coming from and how they’re coming,” she noted.
“If they’re bringing their pets, they’re also bringing their kids.
There’s a lot to learn from what they’ve seen.”
Read more: New Zealand on the frontline of the world’s climate change crisis