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A brighter future?

Written By: - Date published: 12:31 pm, September 23rd, 2011 - 32 comments
Categories: Economy, tourism - Tags:

An alert reader pointed out the new tourism forecasts.

I take a few points from this:

  • Tourism has been in decline since 2004 but it really started plummeting after 2009.
  • Tourism income has fallen over 10% in the last three years. Who’s Minister of Tourism, again? Guess pleading to get on Letterman didn’t really get all those tourists after all.
  • The Rugby World Cup only makes a tiny blip. If it’s true that visitors for the RWC are spending $700m, then the fall would have been huge without it. Now, who got us the RWC again?
  • You’ve got to the love the growth paradigm of forecasters. I mean, you’re looking at a record of seven years in which  tourism income has fallen 18%, everyone knows there’s another global recession coming, and we’re in a cycle of oil price spikes caused by peak oil. And what do they predict? Steady growth.
  • Even under this optimistic scenario, tourism income is only back to 2011 levels in 2016.

Looks like we need something other than tourism to pin our hopes on.

32 comments on “A brighter future? ”

  1. JS 1

    So embarrassing expecting tourism to be NZ’s saviour. Just not realistic in a world where resources for travel are rapidly shrinking. And I’m so sick of those growth forecasts by the banks’ spin doctors pretending to be independent commentators. Don’t they know the laws of physics? We are living on a planet which is a closed eco system with finite resources. The only way you can have more is if someone else has less.

  2. vto 2

    ha ha, well done with your own ministry Key. ha ha ha, how useless.

  3. queenstfarmer 3

    Travel globally has declined. Not really difficult to understand why.

    But re the comment “Looks like we need something other than tourism to pin our hopes on”, as Rod Oram (and others I’m sure) has pointed out, tourism is and always will be a low-productivity, low-income industry. While it is still very important etc, the point he made was that for every dollar “we” put into tourism, the returns are considerably lower than other areas we could potentially be investing in.

    So I don’t know how much anyone is pinning their hopes on tourism, but it is quite right that it won’t be a saviour.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    Holy Shit!! Tourist spending fell during the great recession. Who would have picked that?

    • Blighty 4.1

      holy shit! The government has no plan for growing tourism apart from going on Letterman and building a cycleway!

      holy shit! this industry, which employs 1 in 10 Kiwis, has shrunk 10% in 3 years and it projected to have no net growth in the next five!

      Holy shi.. oh, wait, nothing to worry about, eh, ts? It’ll probably fix itself.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    When I see predictions with a near 90 degree change on the graph I pretty much ignore them as it’s an obvious case of someone predicting what they want to be true especially when all the physical evidence would indicate that the opposite is more likely to be true – in this case, tourism is more likely to continue to decline.

    If it’s true that visitors for the RWC are spending $700m…

    Then I’m going to be really fucken surprised.

  6. ianmac 6

    I wonder if the “blip” of increased tourism during the RWC, would mean, that outside of this time there will be an equivalent falloff? I mean many of those who came just now would include those who might have come this year anyway, and later, their money spent there will be a serious dip to compensate for the “blip”.

    • mik e 6.1

      so far 14,500 is the estimated increase not 85,000 estimated $70 million is probably going to be the real figure.

  7. Afewknowthetruth 7

    ‘•Even under this optimistic scenario, tourism income is only back to 2011 levels in 2016.’

    The projection of that graph goes in the wrong direction.

    Mass tourism was a short term aberration in the grand scheme of things, a product of short term imaginary wealth and consumption overshoot. It will be pretty much all over by 2015, a victim of peak oil and the collapse economies that results from peak oil.

    However, there will undoubtedly be plenty of ignorant clowns and vested interest groups who will keep saying otherwise, perhaps for several years.

  8. fatty 8

    who wants an economy based on tourism anyway…seasonal and low paid.

    key’s uselessness may prove to be beneficial in the long run

  9. Daniel 9

    Please set up the axes of your graphs properly. Putting the range on the y axis from 5.0 to 7.5 is misleading because it exaggerates the rate of change. Be honest and start the y axis at 0.

    • McFlock 9.1


      Doubling “misleading” wiith “be honest” exaggerates the rate of exaggeration.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      We keep getting these RWNJs complaining about the range values on graphs. If Eddie actually did what you suggest then the graph would essentially be a straight line – removing the point of the graph which is to show that tourism is declining and that projections into the future are unrealistic.

      As this is the case then I suspect the reason you want to use zero based charts is to hide the truth rather than to make the graph more accurate.

      • Daniel 9.2.1

        I’m definitely not a RWNJ, nor am I even vaguely RW, but thanks for automatically assuming that because I take an issue with the graphic on this post I am ideologically opposed to you. If you’d called me pedantic, on the other hand, I’d probably agree with you 😉

        Your comment raises an interesting point though. If, as you say, a graph with a correct y range would show “essentially a straight line”, then the real decline in tourism is negligible, and this should be shown, *if we actually care about the truth*. If there is in fact a substantial decline in tourism, a graph with correct range values will still show this to be the case. The 18% drop in tourism suggested by the OP would still be easily observable from a graph with a 0-based y range.

  10. Bazar 10

    “Looks like we need something other than tourism to pin our hopes on.”

    Well i liked the idea of mining and potentially oil drilling, but the people protested in mass against that in idea.

    Dairy is doing alright, but could do with some help growing, but the greenies protest left and right over how polluting cows are and the ets. (While there is some rightful concern over pollution, i believe it can be managed).

    I guess that leaves lumber… then again i expect the greenies to be opposed to that as well.

    • McFlock 10.1

      So much for the knowledge economy. Primary production is the be-all and end-all of your conceptual horizon?

      • Bazar 10.1.1

        I live in a place called reality.

        Wishing for a knowledge economy doens’t make it a reality.
        We have NO WAY of creating a knowledge based economy short term, and i doubt we have much ability to create one long term either.
        We have neither the history, knowledge, infrastructure, or background involved in other successful knowledge economies.

        Again, work with what you have and start from there.
        Working from what we don’t have, is a stupid way to plan indeed.

        • Colonial Viper

          We have NO WAY of creating a knowledge based economy short term, and i doubt we have much ability to create one long term either.


        • AAMC

          “I live in a place called reality.”

          Sounds like you live in a place called the 1800’s!

        • McFlock

          “work with what you have and start from there.”
          Lol. More than a dozen universities for 4mil people and the highest per capita rate of patents globally certainly implies we have the raw resources for the knowledge economy – some of us just prefer to “drill baby, drill” rather than “learn baby, learn”.

    • millsy 10.2

      Why dont you like national parks and clean rivers?

      • Bazar 10.2.1

        Why are you suggesting its impossible to have both a successful dairy industry and clean rivers and parks?

        • Colonial Viper

          It’s impossible to have an infinitely growing dairy industry and clean rivers, catchments and parks.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.3

      Well i liked the idea of mining and potentially oil drilling, but the people protested in mass against that in idea.

      That’s probably because it’s a really stupid idea. Digging up all out resources and selling them off as fast as possible doesn’t promote a long term economy never mind sustainable one you moron.

      Dairy is dirtying up our streams, has no added value and only benefits a few. Or, to put it in words you may understand, any more than what we use is a waste of time and resources.

      Cutting down our trees – Easter Island redux?

      Why is that you RWNJs can’t come up with a single idea that’s sustainable and benefits the entire community?

      Oh, wait, it’s because you’re fucken stupid.

      • Phil 10.3.1

        Digging up all out resources and selling them off as fast as possible doesn’t promote a long term economy never mind sustainable one you moron.

        I’ll type this slowly so that even you can keep up, Draco;

        If… I… sell… goods… and… services… I… get… money… in… return.

        So in the case of mining, sure, there’s a finite resouce and once it’s all dug up, it’s all gone. But what really matters is what we do with the wealth it generates. Think of it as seed capital, if you will.

        Cutting down our trees – Easter Island redux?

        Thankfully, Fletcher Forests and their industry competitors are smarter than you. They PLANT trees too.

      • Bazar 10.3.2

        “Digging up all out resources and selling them off as fast as possible doesn’t promote a long term economy never mind sustainable one you moron.”

        I’ve run out of wit so i’ll be blunt.
        I never said mining was sustainable, and your retarded for thinking i said as much.

        The point of mining is quite simply, money. Money for the government to spend/invest with, and money for the private sector to grow/lower debts with.

        Once the mining boom is over, we will either have lower debts and thus lower repayments, or more money to spend on investments/companies. This would apply to both the government and private sector.

        “Dairy is dirtying up our streams, has no added value and only benefits a few. Or, to put it in words you may understand, any more than what we use is a waste of time and resources.”

        I’d like to believe you’re smarter then that, but i won’t hold my breath.
        But some facts to show how fucking retarded that statement was

        Fonterra announced last week that they have exported 2.1 million tons of milk in 2011.
        That’s $10.6 Billion NZD

        Tourism by this very own chart doesn’t even come close when it peeked at 7 billion, to the raw exports pulled in by our dairy industry this year alone, or the year before.

        “Oh, wait, it’s because you’re fucken stupid.”
        Even on my worst days, I’m smarter then you at your best.
        Learn to think about what runs this country and the impacts changes make, before you make such blithe statements against dairy.

        • KJT

          That is gross receipts.

          Less than 6 billion as an accounting net.

          Unless you use the federated farmers method. Which would show our economy as twice as big if all industries accounted for their positive impact the same way.

          Before you count the other costs of propping up dairy.

          How much does dairy cost?

          Now and in the future.

          After the many things we have sacrificed for the “sacred cow” of farming I would not be surprised if a dispassionate analysis found a negative net benefit to the economy.

          Free trade agreements which have killed our skilled manufacturing,, in the vain hope that the EU, and others will remove agricultural protection, being just one cost.

        • AAMC

          “Fonterra announced last week that they have exported 2.1 million tons of milk in 2011.
          That’s $10.6 Billion NZD”

          Any accounting for externalities in there?

  11. Afewknowthetruth 11


    ‘tourism is and always will be a low-productivity…’

    Actually, tourism doesn’t produce anything (other than the kind of pollution that is ‘killing’ the planet we live on). Tourism, in the orthodox meaning of the word, is just a form of extremely wasteful consumption which is dependent on other forms of activity for its existence.

    In the insane world of politicians and economists tourism generates wealth. In sane world of non-politicians and non-economists tourism shifts imaginary wealth from one place to another at considerable expense to everyone, and erodes the general environment we are dependent on for our existence.

  12. Colonial Viper 12

    At the best of times, tourism never brings in enough money to do more than create a low wage economy.

    We need industries which generate over $250K of revenue per employee, tourism comes in at only one third of that.

    • Blue 12.1

      Suggestions then CV? you criticise but have no plan, like Labour. Maybe the “details will follow” ? If primary produce is not acceptable as industry then what is?

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