11 Mar 2011

Tourism rapped as environmentally irresponsible

10:00 am on 11 March 2011

A tourism management seminar has been told that tourism in New Zealand is environmentally irresponsible and economically unsustainable.

Futures researcher John Robinson told a Wellington audience that New Zealand can either have a tourism industry or fight climate change - but can't do both.

Dr Robinson says there is one question New Zealanders should ask when considering tourism - and that is, do they care about greenhouse gases.

The economic forecaster says the issues cannot be considered in isolation, because tourism is a major contributor to global warming.

Dr Robinson says that while Ministry of Tourism forecasts since 2004 have suggested tourist numbers will rise, in fact they have plateaued and are likely to drop in the future.

He says those forecasts have been skewed to serving the interests of the ministry, which receives more money if it can promote tourism as a growing industry.

Tourism, he says, is a luxury that is no longer affordable, so people should not be encouraged to travel to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup.