What does New Zealand’s tourism tax mean for you?

New Zealand

Tourists go sea kayaking in Milford Sound, New Zealand. Source: Shutterstock

IF you’re a frequent traveler, especially to Asia, you’ll know discount privileges aren’t readily available to you.

Traveling to tourism hubs such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia mean you’ll incur tourism tax.

And now New Zealand has announced they are joining their Asian neighbors in charging international visitors a tourism fee.

At the Trenz tourism conference last week in Dunedin, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis spoke of the levy being charged to foreign visitors to ensure a strong tourism infrastructure.

New Zealand has seen a tourism boom in the last few years and as Bloomberg reports, there is a huge need for investment in the sector.

Last year, 3.5 million short-term arrivals rocked up on the rugged lands of New Zealand and they are predicted to rise to 4.5 million by 2022.

There is currently a shortage of hotels across New Zealand. This has resulted in delayed passengers being put up in sports facilities and traditional Maori meeting spaces when all hotel rooms are full – something the tax wants to resolve.

This is the kind of bad experience Davis wants to avoid visitors leaving with, as he explains, “the last thing we [the government] want is for visitors to go away with a bad experience or impression of New Zealand.”

Davis adds that the predicted rise in visitor numbers only illustrates the need for the tourism tax.

He’s hoping to publicly announce the proposal within the next few weeks and impose it by 2019.

How much is the tax?

The tax is rumored to be NZ$25 (US$17) upon entry to the country, included in the airfare or at a hotel.

However, it’s not yet confirmed who’ll be eligible to pay this fee.

But if you’re an international visitor with no diplomatic rights, you’ll probably need to get your wallet out.

How else will the tourism tax help?

The levy is expected to raise about NZ$75 million (US$52 million) for tourism, conservation, and creating world-class facilities for visitors without putting the monetary burden on residents.

The funds will be put towards facilities like public toilets, car parks, and building more hotels to give visitors more variety.