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Regional Tourism Calls for a National Debate on Tourism Tax

December 5, 2017 Business News No Comments Email Email

Regional Tourism Organisations are calling for a coordinated national discussion on tourism tax.

Regional Tourism New Zealand (RTNZ), says the tourism tax debate is constantly coming up in different parts of the country and it’s a big issue that will impact enormously on New Zealand’s largest export earner.

This week the Labour Government says it is seeking advice from officials on its pre-election policy that would see international visitors pay a $25 tax at the border.

RTNZ Executive Officer Charlie Ives says New Zealand needs an agreed, rational, structured approach that benefits tourism.

“Regions are not opposed to a visitor levy, which is regional tourism’s preferred term, if it is invested back into the industry, and supports the regions that need it.”

“The growth in tourism is producing enormous benefits for most regions but that value is unevenly distributed.  In some regions this increase in visitors is imposing an unaffordable burden on many relatively small ratepayer communities to provide good infrastructure, and protect and enhance our environment.” 

 “We believe it is reasonable that visitors make a small contribution to the costs of providing great regional tourism experiences. This means investing in good quality infrastructure, destination development, management and marketing, so that visitors have high quality experiences across the country.

“The needs of each region are very different when it comes to prioritising the range of tourism related services that communities have to fund.” 

Mr Ives wants a partnership approach between the regions and national government to ensure that any legislation has a mechanism to make sure any funds from future visitor levies are invested back into the regions who need it.

“As an organisation representing 30 tourism regions, RTNZ understands the diverse range of needs the country is facing. The best people to understand specific local needs and priorities are those communities themselves.”

“This approach would also help address any resident resistance towards tourism growth in some parts of the country where communities are under pressure during peak times.”

“We have seen good working models of visitor levies overseas. New Zealand needs to consider these from an overall perspective and decide the best way to protect and enhance our largest export industry – tourism.”

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