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Bed Tax Will Damage Auckland’s $ billion Industry

Bed tax will damage Auckland’s billion dollar tourism industry

The health of Auckland’s $3.2 billion tourism industry would be damaged if bed taxes were imposed to pay for a new stadium, New Zealand Hotel Council Chief Executive Officer Mark Oldershaw says.

In a presentation to the Auckland Mayoral Forum today, Mr Oldershaw said targeting one sector was unfair and inequitable.

Hotels would not be the only sector to benefit from a new stadium. Visitors to Auckland also ate at cafes and restaurants, used buses and taxis, went shopping and bought petrol at service stations. The construction sector would also be a major beneficiary of a new or redeveloped stadium.

“Taxing visitors to finance the building of the stadium is unfair because they will not be the primary beneficiaries of the stadium,” Mr Oldershaw says.

“The Government is describing this as a ‘national stadium’ so it should be funded nationally.”

Hotels already operated on tight margins but would be forced to absorb the costs of a bed tax for at least the next two years. Hotels confirm their tariffs to international travel wholesalers as far as two years ahead so could not pass on the costs of bed taxes to visitors until 2008.

Bed taxes would also be expensive to collect and administer, he pointed out. And they would fail to reach the many people who stayed with friends or family in Auckland, those who camped, or those who did not stay overnight.

“The tourism market is extremely price sensitive and visitors will vote with their feet, bypassing Auckland in favour of other, more competitive destinations,” Mr Oldershaw said.

The New Zealand Hotel Council has joined the Coalition Against Travel Taxes (CATT) and will be active in fighting against proposals for bed taxes.


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