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Bookabach welcomes community endorsement of tourism levy

Leading holiday rental website, Bookabach today welcomed the provisional result of the Queenstown tourism levy referendum as a step towards a long-term solution for tourism infrastructure funding.

The community’s endorsement of a tourism levy is a step forward on solving the challenges associated with financing tourism infrastructure in Queenstown-Lakes District Council.

Bookabach General Manager, Peter Miles said Bookabach has been supportive from the beginning of efforts by Queenstown-Lakes District Council to find a community supported model for funding local services. The result announced today is a step towards resolving a problem for Queenstown – the most challenging case for tourism infrastructure funding in New Zealand.

“A number of local governments across New Zealand are attempting to solve the tourism infrastructure funding issue with blunt instruments like property rates. Mayor Boult’s innovative approach to the issue stands in stark contrast to others that refuse to see the fundamental flaws associated with using rudimentary funding levers,” Mr Miles said.

“While the result is a positive one, Queenstown-Lakes District Council must now work through the exact model and rate for the levy. We stand ready to work with the council to help ensure the successful application of the levy,” Mr Miles concluded.

To ensure a successful application of the tourism levy across the entire visitor economy, Bookabach has four key recommendations for Queenstown Lakes District Council:

• The tourism levy should apply to all online and offline transactions, and should have a low compliance burden.
• The levy needs to be low enough so as not to impact demand and to ensure 100% participation and compliance by accommodation providers.
• Council should consider spreading the levy across additional providers of tourism related business as one way to reduce the rate of the levy, e.g. tour operators, car rental companies and airlines.
• The levy should be offset by rate-relief, ideally returning residential properties used for visitor accommodation to a residential rating.

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