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Mayor encourages local sectors to submit on visitor levy

Mayor encourages local sectors to submit on proposed visitor levy

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says the Government’s proposed international visitor levy will be of major interest locally and she is encouraging local sectors to have their say.

“Rotorua is a premium tourism destination and this will no doubt generate an interesting discussion in our community,” Mayor Chadwick says.

“As a Council I’m sure we will also be keen to discuss this and contribute to the national conversation.

“Both our population and tourism numbers are as high as they’ve ever been and that places considerable pressure on our facilities and infrastructure and on our relatively small ratepayer base. Until now, much of the burden of that has been borne by the local community.”

Consultation on the proposed $25 to $35 levy was announced today by Tourism Minister Kelvin who says the aim is to ease the cost burden on communities and ratepayers for tourism-related infrastructure.

It is proposed the levy would be collected through visa applications and a proposed Electronic Travel Authority and Australians and people from most Pacific Island Forum countries would be exempt. It is expected the levy would collect between $57m and $80m in its first year with funds to be split between tourism infrastructure and conservation activity.

Mayor Chadwick says as a key visitor destination contributing to tourism nationally, Rotorua needs to be able to cater for increased tourism and ensure it continues to provide a great visitor experience, while at the same time catering to population growth and meeting the ongoing needs and aspirations of the district’s residents.

“Of course we welcome increasing numbers of visitors but it comes at a cost and we can’t do it alone. We need to ensure we continue to provide an outstanding visitor experience and we need investment from Central Government to enable us to do that.

“We will be interested to see the result of this consultation process and the types of infrastructure and projects that will be able to benefit from a levy if it is introduced. From our point of view increased tourism adds to the pressure on not only public facilities and reserves but also roads, our airport and the likes of wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

“Another question for me, and I’m sure others, will be how the funds collected from a levy would be apportioned.

“I would encourage our local business, tourism, accommodation and hospitality leaders to ensure their sectors contribute to the national conversation,” Mayor Chadwick says.

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