The tourism industry is disappointed by the Government’s surprise plans to impose a travel tax on New Zealanders and international visitors.
Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Chief Executive Chris Roberts says the Government has long supported TIA’s objections to the British and Australian versions of a travel tax, but has now followed suit with today’s Budget announcement.
“International visitors spend $10.3 billion a year in the New Zealand economy, including $700m a year in GST collected by the Government. They are already making a substantial contribution and there is no justification for this new tax,” Mr Roberts says.
“And once these types of taxes are in place, there is a tendency for the level to escalate.”
Similar taxes imposed in other countries have been shown to have a dampening effect on travel.
“We are hopeful there will be no significant impact on visitor arrivals here, in the short term at least, as New Zealand is currently a highly desirable destination,” Mr Roberts says.
There is a small potential positive impact on domestic tourism, as Kiwis elect to holiday at home instead of taking a trip to Australia or the Pacific islands. But this would not offset potential losses from international visitors.
The government has indicated there will be a consultation period beginning in early June, when the public and industry will get the chance to provide feedback on the design, introduction and level of the levy. TIA will participate in that process.