New Zealand plans to levy $25 charge on international visitors to pay for tourism facilities
Overseas tourists will be charged $25 per head to help fund local tourism and conservation infrastructure as Tourism spokesperson of New Zealand Kris Faafoi said.
Faafoi said the $25 levy would provide $75 million a year for a Tourism and Conservation Infrastructure Fund that would be used to provide a “world-class experience” for tourists without burdening local communities.
Announcing the plan, Faafoi said tourism’s success meant more infrastructure was needed to serve all visitors “especially if we want to attract high-spending tourists who will increase the value of the sector to the New Zealand economy”.
The councils are facing increased pressure due to the growing number of tourists from Northland to Southland; more so because of the lack of funds. “It’s time for the Government to help ensure we deliver a world-class experience to tourists, without unfairly burdening local communities.”
The money would be divided up with $45m going to tourism infra- structure and training, especially in high-demand areas, with the remaining $30m going towards protecting and enhancing the natural environment, as well as infrastructure tourists use on conservation land.
Faafoi said he hoped Rotorua would be one of the cities to benefit from the levy. He also said that “There’s no evidence that a levy of less than one per cent of what the average tourist spends in New Zealand will hurt tourism. In fact, after National introduced a $22 border charge, passenger numbers rose faster than expected.”
More than 3.5m international tourists visited New Zealand last year.
However, he said a decision couldn’t be reached unless they talk with Air New Zealand to discuss issues such as how it would be limited only to overseas visitors, not Kiwis coming home.
Labour would need a new bureaucracy to handle the new charge and differentiate between foreign visitors and Kiwis, Joyce said.