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‘Tourist taxes’ put $7 billion at risk - TIA

‘Tourist taxes’ put $7 billion at risk - TIA

Tourism’s enormous contribution to New Zealand’s economy is highlighted by the $1 billion increase in international visitor spend announced today, Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Chief Executive Fiona Luhrs says.

“The 16.4 percent increase in international visitor spend highlights the tourism industry’s importance to New Zealand – especially given that international arrivals for the same period were down one percent,” Ms Luhrs says.

The fact that fewer international visitors spent $1 billion more shows the industry is succeeding in its goal of maximising returns to the country from each visitor rather than simply increasing visitor numbers, she says.

However, those achievements will be put at risk if bed and airport taxes are imposed on travellers to fund a new Auckland sports stadium, she warns.

“The tourism industry is fully behind the Rugby World Cup 2011 and has an open mind on a stadium location. But we do not believe that international visitors should be asked to pay for a facility that will benefit New Zealanders in 2011. This will tarnish our international reputation,” she says.

“The international visitor spend figures show that visitors are already pouring billions into our economy. Forcing them to pay for a facility they will not benefit from risks making Auckland - and New Zealand - a less attractive destination.”

TIA Members from around the country have this week voiced absolute opposition to the bed and airport tax proposals, and TIA is urgently meeting with politicians and government officials to have the proposals taken off the table.

Key statistics about tourism:

Tourism is the world's fastest growing industry

New Zealand tourism arrivals have doubled in size since 1994 to 2.38 million

Forecast annual growth is 4% on average for at least the next five years

Tourism is New Zealand's single largest export sector and contributed $8.1 billion dollars to the economy in the year ended March 2004.

That is 18.7% of exports Domestic tourism contributes $9.4 billion to the economy each year

Tourism directly and indirectly employs 10 percent of the work force. That is one in 10 jobs in New Zealand.

Tourism represents 9% of gross domestic product and generates nearly $526 million in GST returns from international visitors each year.

Tourism is the only export sector whose international clients pay GST.


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