LEaP Research Report

Becken, S. & Wilson (2010). Tourism, climate and weather – a New Zealand Perspective. LEaP Report 20.

LEaP Research Paper

Becken, S., Wilson, J. & Hughey, K. (2011). Planning for Climate, Weather and Other
Natural Disasters – Tourism in Northland
. LEaP Paper 1.


Adaptation to Climate Change in New Zealand

Preparing the Tourism Sector for Climate Change (2009-2012) -FRST funded Project

Project Summary

Climate change has the potential to both increase New Zealand’s attractiveness to tourists and undermine some of its core attractions. Tourism in New Zealand is a highly weather and climate dependent industry with most of the popular attractions/ activities enjoyed by international tourists based outdoors. Currently little is known about how sensitive the industry is to climatic events and the level of risk projected future changes pose; what the tourism industry’s adaptive capacity is and which adaptation measures could reduce the potential costs of climate change. This research will help protect and grow international tourism in New Zealand by identifying both the tourist activities most vulnerable to climatic change and potential opportunities for new products. It will also identify where investment is needed to limit the negative effects of climate change and identify adaptation strategies to increase the ability of tourism decision makers’ to cope with resulting future changes. This new knowledge will increase the international competitiveness of the New Zealand tourism industry.

Research Team

Dr. Susanne Becken (Programme Leader)
Prof. Ken Hughey
Dr. Jude Wilson

cylcist in Arthurs PassIn partnership with
Dr. Jordy Hendrikx (NIWA)
And technical input from Johnny Edmonds and Geoff Butcher.
International advisor: Dr. Daniel Scott (University of Waterloo, Canada)

Funded by the Foundation of Research, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Tourism


Downloadable information (generic)
Disaster management plan for Northland, summary of analysis. Powerpoint presentation shown to key stakeholders available here.

Cloud analysis - What tourists think about NZ's weather and climate (by Dr. J. Wilson)

Summary Fact Sheet from a Tourist Survey on Climate/Weather and Tourist behaviour (with a focus on information search).

Wilson, J. & Becken, S. (2010). Who has the most sunshine? The battle for the most attractive destination. Presented at the Auckland NZ Tourism Hospitality and Research Conference, 24-26 November 2010

Background document on "National Screening of Vulnerablility" - to inform the first round of stakeholder workshops.

Poster presented at the Climate Adaptation Futures conference in Australia. Full reference: Becken, S., Wilson, J., Reisinger, A. & Hendrikx, J. (2010). Climate and weather impacts on tourism in New Zealand. Poster presented at Climate Adaptation Futures – Preparing for the unavoidable impacts of climate change, 29 June to 1 July, 2010, Gold Coast, Australia.

Workshop Report, stakeholder workshop Wellington 20 April 2010, Susanne Becken and Andy Reisinger

Literature Review on Tourism, Weather and Climate (S. Becken, February 2010).


Case study - Southern Lakes (focus on Queenstown and Wanka)
Public presentation held in Wanaka on 7th June 2010, Coping with weather and climate.

 The impact of climate change on seasonal snow conditions in New Zealand - prepared by Jordy Hendrikx (NIWA)

Mt Taranaki photoSummary: To examine the potential changes on seasonal snow and their direct and indirect impacts, a two tiered approach has been adopted. The first tier will focus on snow modelling and adaptation in New Zealand. This research indicates that at nearly all elevations, and across all models, the A1B “mid-range” emissions scenario for the 2040s and 2090s scenarios result in a decrease in snow in New Zealand as described by all of our summary statistics: Maximum snow; Snow duration; Percentage precipitation that is snow. The second tier will use the information from the previous work and build on it, to allow for direct comparison between New Zealand and Australian snow models and permit direct assessment of relative impacts on these ski fields. We hypothesis that the relative change in seasonal snow at these trans Tasman locations are likely to be at least as important, if not more important, than the absolute change at each location with respect to driving winter tourism.

Report to Tourism Industry: The Impact of Climate Variability on Tourism Businesses in Wanaka and Queenstown.

The New Zealand Snow Model, developed and reported by NIWA.


Case study - Northland
The Northland case study currently focuses on the development of a Visitor Incident Plan (VIP) to address natural disasters, based on the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Framework for the 4Rs: Risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery. This is the first attempt in New Zealand to systematically link tourism with disaster risk reduction. 

Summary to tourism stakeholders: Report on the first consultation of tourism stakeholders in the Far North.

Paihia Presentation (November 2010): Climate Variability and Change - Implications for Tourism.


Developing a VISITOR ACTION PLAN to prepare tourism for natural disasters

A number of documents are available that present research on the development of a VAP for Northland. Natural disasters and their impacts on tourism are key concerns and preparing the tourism sector for disasters will ensure greater sustainability for the destination. A partnership with the regional Civil Defence and Emergency Management team was formed. 

Background document for Northland

Visitor Action Plan

In addition, we produced a generalised approach for developing a VAP designed for uptake in other regions. Click here.


The results are also summarised in a presentation that was given at the Civil Defence Forum in Whangarei on the 3 March 2012.   

Page last updated on: 11/05/2012