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New Zealand Infrastructure and Tourism: How NZ is Increasing Visitor Traffic

The United States is being seen by some as a less friendly tourist destination thanks to the new Trump administration's focus on immigration. Recent tensions between the United States and North Korea are affecting trade agreements and tourism with other Asian nations, including China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. As the political landscape is slowly shifting across the world, New Zealand is taking advantage of the expected increase in tourists.

New Zealand is in a unique position thanks to its reputation for friendliness, its lack of venomous animals and its moderate climate — not to mention its opportunities for skiing and surfing. In addition, because it's an English-speaking nation, it's easy for most tourists to communicate within the country. And finally, despite the occasional loss, All Blacks rugby has an almost mythical status in the rugby world.

Current New Zealand projects to increase tourism and build hotel footfall vary from small community projects to increase the appeal of local areas, to wide-ranging development projects with substantial implications for the entirety of New Zealand.


One of the biggest appeals of New Zealand is its unspoiled landscape, and a side effect of that is its lack of light pollution. Consequently, a new astronomy centre at Lake Tekapo is being funded along with various luxury glass cabins throughout New Zealand. The Tekapo reservation's Dark Sky Reserve status makes it ideal for this project. While the cabins themselves will increase hotel footfall, the astronomy centre offers an even further boost for tourism in the area.

Promotional Campaigns 

With the increase in Chinese tourism expected to bring in $5 billion a year by 2022, an advertising partnership was created to persuade Chinese tourists residing in Australia to visit New Zealand. The ad campaign cost about $100,000, but as of 2017, its estimated potential benefits are around $6 million thus far. It's clear that this 2014 campaign has had some impact, which includes a boost to hotel footfall.

Airport Upgrades 

One of the bigger projects that New Zealand Tourism has undertaken is that Auckland International Airport. Again, the focus on securing the Chinese tourist market has meant that ties have been strengthened with Guangdong, which is one of China's largest consumer markets. With this in mind, the airport is undergoing a $180 million upgrade to significantly increase its departure lounge and connecting the international terminal to the domestic terminal. Part of the project involves emphasising New Zealand culture to Chinese residents to persuade them that New Zealand has the high-quality food, wine and culture that's often overlooked — and this is happening in the airport itself. In addition, it utilises local Chinese-origin residents to forge closer ties with the area. This part of the campaign cost approximately $3 million, but it is projected to bring in $81 million over the life of the project.


One of the more interesting projects concerns Lyttelton, which is based around the Port of Christchurch. Part of it involves re-greening the city of Christchurch. The aim is to provide residents with various green spaces for outdoor events and entertainments to bolster local Kiwi culture and present the area as a hotbed of cultural activity. In addition, an urban regeneration initiative in Lyttelton itself has focused on Kiwi art installations on various vacant sites to keep the city looking vibrant rather than vacant. These projects should boost tourism to the area and improve its overall image as a bright place to be for artists.

Other Current Projects 

Additional current projects awarded grants from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment include a zip line canopy tour in Rotorua, a state-of-the-art kiwi facility in the same area and a visitor centre at the South Catlins' Curio Bay. All these projects aim to increase spending in the region and enhance New Zealand's reputation as a wonderful place to visit for both domestic tourists and those from outside the country.


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