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Third of NZers uneasy about visitor growth

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/04/2016

Kiwis are becoming increasingly sceptical about the tourism industry, as foreign arrivals grow at its second fastest month-on-month rate since public records began.

New Zealand welcomed 52,603 more guests in March than in the same period in 2015, an increase of 18 per cent, which is only behind when the country hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Tourism continues to boom as annual visitor arrivals surged by 10.4 per cent in the 12 months to March, fuelled largely by an influx of Australian, Chinese and Argentinian visitors.

But as many as one in three New Zealanders are worried that the future growth in international arrivals may be too high.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said while Kiwis recognise tourism's importance, some have issues with dodgy drivers, environment damage and accommodation shortages.

Presently, most New Zealanders think positively about foreign arrivals with only 14 per cent believing visitor numbers are already too high according to the "mood of the nation" survey.

Australia and China continue to drive most of the growth, however Argentinian arrivals have increased fourfold since the introduction of direct flights between Auckland and Buenos Aires.

WHERE DID THE TOURISTS ARRIVE FROM IN MARCH?

1. Australia - 133,296, up 17.5 per cent

2. China - 40,448, up 31.1 per cent

3. United States - 32,752, up 21.8 per cent

4. United Kingdom - 25,040, up 11.3 per cent

5. Japan - 11,120, up 7.6 per cent

16. Argentina - 2,448, up 427.6 per cent

19. Philippines - 2,016, up 72.6 per cent

Source: Stats NZ

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