From 2.6 to over 10 million international tourists per year: Is Auckland ready to talk overtourism?

The New Zealand Herald is investigating potential overtourism in Auckland, as destinations around the globe are reeling with massive numbers of people descending upon cities, beaches, historical sites, natural reserves, etc. Overtourism in Auckland will also affect Waiheke; PFW invites you to read the Herald’s exploration of this topic through its series of articles.

Forget 20/20 vision, Auckland needs to look ahead to 2021. In the first of a four-part series on the future of Auckland's tourism, The New Zealand Herald investigates how the city is working to get its infrastructure ready for APEC and the America's Cup.

You have never seen so many suitcases in your life. Thousands of pieces of rollie luggage arranged on Princes Wharf in regimented rows, ready to roll into unflinching battle with Auckland's congested roads.

The 143,000 tonne Majestic Princess, the flagship of the Princess Cruises line, is disgorging 3500 guests, and most of its 1400 crew, into the thudding construction site that is downtown Auckland.

Where the hundreds of buses and taxis try to turn out into Quay St, a very loud, very angry traffic warden in a hi-vis vest hollers at the departing drivers and pedestrians. "Go!" she shouts. "Go, go, go! Now!" And the cars and buses lurch left into the narrow trenches of roadworks cones before the lights change again.

Auckland gets about 2.6 million international guests a year. And nothing tests the infrastructure like a "turnaround day" for one of the world's biggest cruise liners, at the same time that the entire CBD is being dug up to build the new underground City Rail Link.

Nothing, a least, until 2021 – when Auckland will be hit by a perfect storm. That year, the city will host the America's Cup, the APEC Leaders' Summit, Te Matatini, the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron's 150th Anniversary, the women's Rugby World Cup, the women's Cricket World Cup, and the men's Softball World Championship.

And as the City Rail Link works continue, Auckland will still be a construction site.

If unloading the Majestic Princess is a military operation, the officer presiding over it is the very model of a modern major-general – or at least, a modern captain. The crisp lines of his white uniform, the even-sharper lines of his immaculately-trimmed beard, the twinkle in his eye.

Captain Dino Sagani is a star and he knows it.

An ITV fly-on-the-wall documentary aboard the ship, as it cruised around Australia and New Zealand, has just finished screening on British TV. Mic'd up day and night as he strolled the decks, sipped his macchiato, sampled the menus designed by Michelin-starred chefs, and swept the 80-year-old widows off their feet on the dancefloor, Sagani is now relaxed with the media.

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