New Zealand plans to levy $25 charge on in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors to pay for tourism fa­cil­i­ties

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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