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The message couldn’t be clearer. After more than two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, New Zealand fully reopened its borders to foreign travelers on August 1. The government now wants to bring tourists back to the country, but not just anyone. New Zealand Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has assured that the country will favor “big spenders”, as reported Thursday, August 11.

“In terms of targeting our marketing strategy, it will be unabashedly towards these high quality tourists,” he said when presenting a government plan to revive New Zealand’s tourism sector which has suffered greatly from the health crisis. To do this, the country wants to “welcome backpackers”, but leave out “people who explain on Facebook how they can travel […] $10 a day eating instant noodles,” the New Zealand minister said.

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High-end helicopters and restaurants

This is not his first statement in this sense. In 2020, Stuart Nash had already taken on this strategy, saying his country would “shamelessly” target travelers who “fly business class or premium economy class, rent a helicopter, take a ride around [du glacier] Franz Josef then eat in a high-end restaurant”.

Some experts doubt the effectiveness of this strategy. James Higham, professor of tourism at New Zealand’s University of Otago, rejects the idea that “very wealthy individuals” spend more on travel than budget tourists, an idea that is not supported by research. “There is no evidence of this,” he said, pointing instead to their greater impact on the environment.

After two years of sanitary isolation, New Zealand fully reopened its borders on August 1 – European, American and Canadian travelers had been allowed to return since May 1. The country had recorded 3.9 million international arrivals in 2019, the last normal year before the pandemic, representing more than 16 billion New Zealand dollars (9.95 billion euros), or almost 9% of the country’s GDP. country.

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