“Queenstown is having to mortgage itself to the hilt for the rest of the country’s benefit,” he said, adding that growing local government debt to finance the area’s rapidly growing infrastructure and accommodation needs were driving up costs for local residents, many of whom struggled to find affordable housing in a pricey rental market catering to wealthy tourists.
“We don’t think that is fair,” he said.
The boom is only expected to continue. In February, New Zealand will introduce a yearlong Chinese tourism initiative; China is the country’s second largest source of tourists after Australia, and the fastest growing. The campaign aims to attract visitors during off-peak times and to lesser-known regions, and also to help businesses better cater to visitors from China.
But Mr. Milne, the tourism professor, said not enough had been done to prepare New Zealand communities for an expected doubling in the number of Chinese visitors. He added that New Zealand had a history of overlooking local residents’ concerns as it sought to aggressively increase tourism.
The British family accused of wreaking a trail of havoc down the North Island over the last month first came to public attention when a woman in Auckland, the country’s largest city, filmed a dispute over the family members’ refusal to pick up trash they had appeared to leave behind at Takapuna Beach in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.
Three members of the family did not respond to interview requests. But Barbara Doran, one of the tourists, told The Daily Mail that her family had been “tortured” by New Zealanders and had done nothing wrong.
Although the family members had been issued deportation notices by New Zealand immigration officials after an incident at a Burger King in the city of Hamilton, some remained in the country as of Tuesday (New Zealand permits visitors to appeal deportation notices, and they cannot be deported until their appeals are complete.) One of the family members, Tina Maria Cash, was convicted of theft in the Hamilton District Court and ordered to pay 55 New Zealand dollars for stealing from a gas station.
It is not the first time outraged New Zealanders have confronted tourists. In a spate of incidents in 2015, tourists had their car keys forcibly taken from them by locals who believed they were driving poorly.