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Industry unites in opposition to traveller taxes

Media Release

Tourism industry unites in opposition to Auckland traveller taxes

17 November 2006

New Zealand’s major tourism organisations have formed a coalition to fight any proposal to tax travellers to fund a new or redeveloped stadium.

The formation of the Coalition Against Travel Taxes (CATT) was announced at a mayoral forum in Auckland today. The announcement was made at the conclusion of a presentation by the New Zealand Hotel Council outlining the collateral damage a bed tax would do if imposed on the tourism industry.

The Coalition includes

* the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA)

* the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ)

* the New Zealand Hotel Council (NZHC)

* Tourism Auckland

* the Hospitality Association of New Zealand (HANZ)

* the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ)

* the Inbound Tour Operators Council (ITOC) and

* Holiday Accommodation Parks Association of New Zealand (HAPNZ).

Coalition chair and TIA Chief Executive Fiona Luhrs says the group represents well over 85 percent of New Zealand’s $17.5 billion tourism turnover. It was formed in response to proposals that travellers to Auckland could be charged a bed tax and additional international airport departure levies to help fund a Rugby World Cup 2011 stadium.

“Every member of the Coalition fully supports the Rugby World Cup 2011 and looks forward to it being a huge success. But funding for a ‘national stadium’ should not come from a narrow sector of travellers (including travelling New Zealanders), many of whom will not have any contact with the stadium. As a national asset – like Te Papa – it should be nationally funded, especially at a time when the Government is sitting on a record surplus.”

“The tourism industry is extremely price sensitive and responds quickly to price signals. Taxing travellers will see Auckland losing valuable conference and tourism trade to more competitive destinations, within New Zealand and elsewhere in the world.”

The Coalition has an open mind as to the best location for the stadium but is strongly opposed to travellers helping fund it.

The Coalition is also deeply concerned about the precedent that could be set by taxing travellers and visitors for a facility they may not use. The result could be that councils around the country are able to introduce travel taxes to fund projects that are of little or no benefit to visitors or the tourism industry.

“We are in discussions with several other interested groups who support our stance against Auckland travel taxes as being unfair, poorly targeted and bad for Auckland’s economy. We expect the Coalition to be widely supported across the tourism industry and in all parts of the country,” Ms Luhrs says.


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