Seasonality refers to the seasonal distribution of tourist visitation over a calendar year. In the case of New Zealand, visitors from Europe have a distinct preference for visiting during the southern hemisphere’s summer months (December - February) with up to five times as many visitors arriving from Europe in February than in June. The distinct peak months for tourism in Christchurch are from December until the end of March, with 60 per cent of all visitors to the city arriving during this period. The concentration of tourism activity in Christchurch during the summer months (December – February) has a number of advantages and disadvantages. These are listed below.
Advantages and disadvantages of concentrated tourism in the summer months
Tourist operators’, workers’ and residents’ perceptions of concentrated tourism in the summer months are both positive and negative.
- The low season over the autumn and winter may relieve stress for some operators by reducing face-to-face contact with tourists over the summer.
- The stress on facilities/infrastructure in the city is relieved during the low season.
- Reduced congestion levels making parking in the inner city easier during the low season.
- The roads are perceived by residents to be safer during the low season.
- Residents have reported an increased strain on infrastructure due to the influx of visitors during peak season.
- Increased congestion especially in the inner city.
- Long hours must be worked by those people employed in the tourism sector.
- The seasonality of tourism means there is an in migration at the beginning of each season and an out migration at the end of the season.
- Most jobs in tourism are seasonal and not highly paid, workers must work long hours to make up for the lack of income in the off-season.
- Tourism industry related operators have long periods of face-to-face contact with tourists, which creates stress.
- Peak season crowding can heighten resident dissatisfaction with the tourism sector, often resulting in residents taking offence to the variously different cultural and behavioural norms exhibited by tourists to the city, often referred to as a ‘cultural clash’.
- The roads are often perceived dangerous by residents during the peak season.
Moore, K., Simmons, D.G. and Fairweather, J.R. (2003). Visitors to Christchurch: Characteristics and Decision Making. Tourism Recreation Research and Education Centre (TRREC), Lincoln University, Report No. 32.
Shone, M.C., Simmons, D.G. and Fairweather, J.R. (2003). Community Perceptions of Tourism in Christchurch and Akaroa. Tourism Recreation Research and Education Centre (TRREC), Lincoln University, Report No. 34.
- Study the advantages and disadvantages of the seasonality of tourism in Christchurch. Overall, do you think that the seasonal nature of international tourism in Christchurch is mainly an advantage or a disadvantage? Give reasons for your answer.
- How does the seasonality of domestic visitors compare with that of international visitors to the region? Suggest reasons for any differences between these two groups of visitors.
- You are a tourism consultant given the task of developing strategies to encourage tourists in the off-season. Outline the strategies you think will be most successful.
- Which geographic ideas apply specifically to this topic of seasonality? Give reasons and specific examples.