New Zealand’s government has promised to crack down on backpackers relieving themselves in its beauty spots.
Looking ahead to when the country reopens its borders to travellers, tourism minister Stuart Nash said “freedom campers” did not fit the country’s “100% pure” image.
Many tourists rent campervans to travel the length of the country but they do not have loos onboard so they defecate on the side of the road or in rivers and leave it.
Mr Nash said international visitors can expect changes when New Zealand‘s borders open, having closed them in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
He announced a plan to ban travellers from hiring campervans that were not self-contained.
“They need to buy into our sustainability brand and what we stand for as a country,” he said
“Defecating on the side of the road and waterways is not who we are as a nation.
“My ambition is that once global borders open, New Zealand is considered by the world’s most discerning travellers as one of the top three places in the world to visit.”
Kiwis also need to “live the brand”, he said, adding that it was not just tourists who are to blame.
The tourism minister also suggested visitors should follow his own example.
“I always go before I leave home,” he added.
Tourism is a major contributor to New Zealand’s economy, bringing in £8.3bn – 5.8% of its GDP – in the year ending March 2019.
It markets itself as a “clean, green” adventure playground, with Tourism New Zealand’s main slogan being “100% pure New Zealand”.