New Zealand to tax tourists

A woman swan dives from the historic Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand.

WELLINGTON- New Zealand announced on Friday that plans have been made to introduce a tourist tax and increase other fees for international visitors to fund infrastructure development in the face of a tourist boom.

The tourist boom has seen the country tourist numbers 4.5 million from 3.8 million in the last three years.

Tourist minister Kelvin Davis said, “This rapid growth has impacted on the costs and availability of publicly-provided infrastructure,”

“Many regions are struggling to cope and urgently need improved infrastructure, from toilet facilities to carparks.”

However he said he believed the impact on tourist numbers would be minimal.

The tax imposed will amount to NZ$25-NZ$35 (R223-R327) on international visitors from the middle of 2019,  it will also include price hikes for immigration fees and visas will take effect this November.

He said, “When you’re talking about the additional cost to, say, someone coming from the United States who are already paying about NZ$1,200, an extra NZ$25-NZ$30 isn’t going to make that much of a difference.”

The only countries that will be exempt from the tax, will be Australia and the most Pacific Islands countries,  the tax is expected to bring NZ$80 million in revenue to the country which relies heavily in tourism.

Main opposition party the National Party said that the tax could make New Zealand less attractive to tourist.  Davis responded and said, “When you’re talking about the additional cost to, say, someone coming from the United States who are already paying about NZ$1,200, an extra NZ$25-NZ$30 isn’t going to make that much of a difference,”

Photo Credit- The Star

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