New Zealand tourism a force for GOOD?

Josie Major
Jul 23, 2023

Under the shadow of COVID-19, as planes are grounded and people are confined to their homes, the tourism industry has been thrown into complete uncertainty.

There is, however, an opportunity to be found in this moment of crisis. Travel and tourism will never be the same, and we have an opportunity now to rebuild from the ground up, moving away from harmful and high-impact tourism, and towards tourism that does social, economic and environmental GOOD. We need to harness this moment of pause for reflection and research - to take stock of where our industry is at, measure its impacts, and think seriously about how we can improve it.

Tourism in New Zealand

Aotearoa New Zealand is visited by nearly four million tourists each year, and we welcome them with open arms. Our manaakitanga (hospitality) is known the world over, and we are proud to be on so many travelers’ bucket lists.

But tourism in New Zealand has also presented challenges, for both our natural environments and local communities. We know that our industry has room for more responsible and sustainable practice, and 2019’s Mood of the Nation report shows that New Zealanders increasingly believe that the growth of tourist numbers is too high, putting pressure on our infrastructure and environment. So, in this time for reflection and rethinking, we are considering the future.

When visitors return to Aotearoa, what do we want tourism to look like?

What forms of tourism should not be welcomed back?

How can we use tourism to support the rebuild of our economy, our regions, our communities?

Photo credit: Connor Dempsey

We are conducting a research project focused on what GOOD tourism should look like in New Zealand. We are speaking with academics and experts in the field, locally and worldwide, as well as organisations and businesses in the tourism industry who are leading the way in responsible tourism.

This research will contribute to articles to be published through GOOD Travel’s blog, social media and networks. It will also guide the development of GOOD Travel itineraries for prospective travellers to New Zealand, and we will share the results with relevant media and industry stakeholders, including Tourism NZ who are leading a project to “reimagine” the industry.

Tourism is incredibly resilient, and we know that visitors will return to Aotearoa. From the safety of their stay-at-home bubbles, many people are already dreaming up what their post-COVID adventure might be. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to New Zealand, and our hope is that by taking the time to reflect and reset now, we can rebuild tourism after COVID-19 as more sustainable, responsible and meaningful than ever.

Add your voice

If you would like to learn more about or contribute to this research please contact We would love to hear from you. While this research project is focused on New Zealand, we are interested in local, regional, national and international perspectives. Further, while our results will primarily be used to inform our work in New Zealand, we expect some of key findings to also be relevant for other destinations.

July 23, 2023
5 min read