‘Alarm bells’ ring­ing over po­ten­tial levy for tourists

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - HANNAH MARTIN

Phil Goff’s plan to im­ple­ment a levy on vis­i­tors to Auck­land took many by sur­prise, in­clud­ing those tipped to col­lect the fee - ho­tels.

Chair­man for the Auck­land Hote­liers As­so­ci­a­tion, Paul Colum­bus, said Goff’s levy plan raises ‘‘se­ri­ous alarm bells’’ for those in the ho­tel in­dus­try.

Colum­bus said the in­dus­try has mul­ti­ple con­cerns about in­tro­duc­ing a visi­tor levy, in­clud­ing where ex­actly the money will go and what it is go­ing to be used for.

‘‘It has to be eq­ui­table... but we don’t know how it will be used.’’

The fact that the levy would also be placed on ac­com­mo­da­tion providers only was also a con­cern, he said, and the ho­tel in­dus­try would be the ones ’’af­fected by it most.’’

A type of visi­tor levy al­ready ex­ists in New Zealand, col­lected by cen­tral gov­ern­ment through peo­ple’s air­fares.

The Tourism In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion said in a state­ment on Mon­day that the idea to in­tro­duce a visi­tor levy on ac­com­mo­da­tion is un­fair and ill-con­ceived. Tourists in Auck­land spo­ken to said they wouldn’t mind pay­ing a visi­tor levy, but felt Auck­land was ex­pen­sive enough to visit with­out one.

SI­MON MAUDE/FAIR­FAX NZ

Tourists say a visi­tor levy may be fair, but the city is al­ready too ex­pen­sive.

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