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Tourism Operators Squeezed by Road User Charge

Media Release

Tourism Operators Squeezed by Road User Charge Increase

Tourism operators are feeling the pinch as a result of the Government’s shock announcement of an immediate increase in Road User Charges earlier this week.

Paul Yeo, Chief Executive of the Inbound Tour Operators Association says “many of our members who operate coaches and diesel fuelled campervans have been directly affected and have no way to recover these costs. We're selling tours and packaged travel arrangements to overseas visitors and set our prices up to two years in advance, so any price increases like this simply come off our bottom line and hurt immensely.

It's yet another example of the Government making knee jerk decisions without thinking or caring about the consequences and shows their usual disregard for an industry that is already being pummelled by increasing costs."

The move is also contrary to Government policy to support the environment as it will further penalise Tourists using coach transport. Already the industry is faced with the Department of Conservation charging coach passengers for access to National Parks where as tourists using any other form of transport can continue to access the parks for free.

"Seeing New Zealand by coach has the least impact on the environment and this decision just increases the cost providing yet another reason not to consider this option."

The Government receives nearly half a billion dollars in revenue via taxes from tourism every year and tourism earns more foreign exchange for the country than any other industry.

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"Despite the value we generate it remains a fragile industry made up of small operators. They're a pretty resilient lot and can usually ride out the odd pricing change that comes out of the blue, like any good business. However we seem to be on the receiving end of a continuing set of poorly thought through Government decisions which are making many of our members doubt their future viability," said Mr Yeo.

ENDS

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