The Waikato region is home to internationally important geothermal sites visited by both domestic and international tourists. Generally tourism has few negative effects on geothermal features, and with careful management effects can be minimised.
New Zealand is known world-wide for its geothermal attractions. Our geothermal features are major tourist attractions for both domestic and international visitors. The only other area equally well known is the Yellowstone National Park in the United States.
Most of New Zealand’s geothermal areas are found in the Waikato region. In 2011, there were more than two and a half million visits to geothermal attractions in the Waikato region1.
Generally, tourism has little negative effect on the geothermal resource. Geothermal tourism provides local employment, brings tourism dollars into the region, and aids New Zealand's foreign exchange balance. It is worth approximately $206 million to the regional economy. Geothermal tourism also promotes public awareness and support for preserving natural areas.
However tourism can affect some geothermal features:
Find out more about the geysers and sinter springs in the Waikato region.
For tourism to be sustainable long-term we need to preserve and protect our geothermal attractions.
Tourist operators and other geothermal resource users can achieve this by: