‘Alarm bells’ ringing over potential levy for tourists
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.
Tourists say a visitor levy may be fair, but the city is already too expensive.