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Sport Review: International Visitor Tax Turnoff

International Visitor Tax Proposed In Sports Review A Turn-Off.

The proposal in the Report of the Sports, Fitness and Leisure Ministerial Taskforce that a tax of $10 on international travellers be levied is not the way to encourage visitors to New Zealand, Tourism Industry Association New Zealand Chief Executive Glenys Coughlan said today.

“The recommendation, which says that funds generated will be allocated specifically for outdoor recreation, wilderness protection and conservation, is confusing, and sounds like an excuse to fleece international visitors to get money to pay for something that should be funded by the Government. These sort of taxes turn out to be a big turnoff to international visitors.

“International visitors already pay quite a lot to come to New Zealand, they spend when they are here, and they pay GST on the goods and services they consume while they are here. Some tourists also contribute to Department of Conservation (DoC) coffers, through their payments to tour operators, who pay DoC for the concession to operate on DoC land. As well, international visitors create an enormous number of jobs for New Zealanders and generate economic activity throughout the country.

“New Zealand is just one of many countries in the world vying for international tourists. It is a very competitive marketplace and New Zealand must be as tourist friendly as possible to continue to attract international visitors to our shores.

“Slapping more taxes on them is not the way to go about doing this.

“Tourism is not an automatic teller machine, to be accessed every time someone wants to raise a bit of cash. Tourism has to retain every competitive advantage possible, if New Zealand is to continue to benefit from it.“

Ms Coughlan said the tourism industry would lobby against any further taxes being imposed on the international visitor.

ENDS

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