NEW ZEALAND: Tourist Tax

NEW ZEALAND: Tourist Tax

New Zealand’s Labour Party-led government said in June 2018 it plans to impose a tax on most international visitors to fund infrastructure and ease strains on the South Pacific nation’s booming tourist sector.

The new tax of up to U.S. $24.40 per person will start in mid-2019 — the middle of the official China-New Zealand Year of Tourism — and is expected to provide an extra U.S. $39.7 million to U.S. $55.8 million a year to fund conservation and infrastructure.

“It’s only fair that they make a small contribution so that we can help provide the infrastructure they need and better protect the natural places they enjoy,” Minister of Tourism Kelvin Davis said in an emailed statement.

Neighboring Australia, New Zealand’s top source of visitors, would be exempt from the tax, but most other major sources of tourism would be covered, including China, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The tax would be collected with visa applications and through a new electronic travel authority that people eligible for visas on arrival would have to apply to and pay the fee.

A record surge in tourism in the past four years has fueled New Zealand’s impressive economic growth but left its infrastructure straining, with locals complaining of once-tranquil nature walks crowded with people and rubbish.

The small nation with a population of about 4.5 million saw visitor numbers leap almost 30 percent since 2015 to 3.8 million in the year to April 2018, according to data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.  Reuters