Tourists yes, but not just anyone.
This is essentially what New Zealand Minister for Tourism Stuart Nash suggested when announcing a government plan for the reopening of tourism.
After two years of border closures and drastic measures to stem the Covid-19 pandemic, New Zealand has fully reopened its territory, having initially allowed American, Canadian and European travelers to return since May 1. last.
As The Guardian reported on Thursday, Stuart Nash said New Zealand's tourism strategy was to favor "big spenders".
"In terms of targeting our marketing strategy, it's going to be unashamedly about...high quality tourists," he said.
The minister added that the country was not looking to attract those who “travel around our country on $10 a day eating instant noodles.”
A paying method, really?
Yet according to James Higham, professor of tourism at the University of Otago and interviewed by The Guardian, there is no indication that affluent travelers will contribute more to New Zealand than "budget backpackers".
According to him, the trend of the last decades shows that tourists certainly travel further, but “stay less long and spend less locally”.
Higham adds that affluent travelers "are often the most damaging to the environment."
On the other hand, tourists with more modest budgets, such as students from other continents and backpackers, often stay longer in the country and spend more during their stay.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, international tourism was a significant part of New Zealand's economy, with a direct and indirect contribution estimated at 9.3% of GDP.