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Published on : Tuesday, August 29, 2017
International tourists would be charged $25 per person for funding local tourism and conservation infrastructure as per New Zealand Tourism. Tourism spokesperson Kris 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.
Faafoi announced the plan in Rotorua alongside local mayor Steve Chadwick Faafoi and said that this levy is important “especially if we want to attract high-spending tourists who will increase the value of the sector to the New Zealand economy”. He said it was not going to be paid by New Zealand citizens or New Zealand residents.
The money would be divided up with $45m going to tourism infrastructure and training, especially in high-demand areas, with the remaining $30m going towards protecting and enhancing the natural environment, as well as infrastructure that tourists use on conservation land.
“It’s only fair that the cost of these important projects is recouped from the international visitors that enjoy them,” he said. He added, “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.”
There were about 3.5m international visitors last year in New Zealand.
Rotorua was also looking at a lake front development plan that would be a major project that could benefit from the fund.