New Zealand: 100 per cent pure hype
By Geoff Cumming View as one page
4:00 AM Wednesday Jan 6, 2010

New Zealand's image as clean and green faces a backlash from an environmentally conscious world. Photo / Supplied

Dr Anna Thompson cringes as she recalls taking visiting Norwegian academics to the saltwater pools at St Clair beach in Dunedin and seeing the "Beach Closed" sign because of faecal contamination. The senior lecturer in Otago University's tourism department feels the same embarrassment driving through the Mackenzie Basin, where the once-golden tussock landscape is giving way to an "artificial" green patchwork, studded with irrigation gantries. "It's completely opposite to the image of the high country that visitors expect."

Clean and green is how New Zealand markets itself to the world - with images of native forests, pristine lakes and rivers, unspoilt coastline and unusual wildlife.

These natural assets underpin the "100 per cent Pure New Zealand" tourism brand, which is credited with leading a 50 per cent increase in visitor numbers in 10 years (though our tourism agency claims 100 per cent Pure is about the experience rather than the environment).

More here.