New levy proposed for NZ tourists, but not Australians

By MiNDFOOD

New levy proposed for NZ tourists, but not Australians

The New Zealand Government has opened public consultation on the government’s proposed tourist levy of between $25 and $35 for some visitors, alongside plans to increase fees charged for immigration applications and the introduction of an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), a security check to speed up border processing for visitors who don’t need visas to come to New Zealand, such as the United Kingdom and United States.

The tourist levy would exclude visitors from Australia, which is New Zealand’s biggest tourist market, and people from Pacific Islands Forum countries; children under 2 years old; and visitors travelling for business.

The tourism has been leery about the proposed levy, with particular concerns about the prospect of airlines having to collect the fee from passengers. However, in statements issued they are tentatively supportive.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts says the industry wants to be part of the discussion on how the funds raised from the tourist levy, which the government has estimated at between $57 million and $80 million in the first year, are allocated. The government has suggested it be spent on tourism infrastructure and conservation, including visitor facilities on conservation land, conservation activity, and other tourism-related infrastructure.

“Our international visitors will be more accepting of being charged to come to New Zealand if they can clearly see it is going to support infrastructure and services that enhance their visit,” Roberts says.

The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand says that most of its members support the levy “but only if it was invested back into the industry” and went toward improving tourism attractions and looking after New Zealand’s conservation estate.

“Investment in our conservation estate and the tourism experience overall will go some way to deliver the iconic New Zealand holiday that is worth spending a little extra on,” says TECNZ chief executive Judy Chen.

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