Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis confirmed that the Government is pushing forward with plans for an International Visitor Levy. No specific details have been announced as of yet.

The Government has indicated that New Zealand residents and anyone travelling on a New Zealand passport will be exempt from paying the new border tax. Possible exemptions for Australians and Pacific Islanders are also in consideration.

“Some people say it’s great, some people say it’s terrible, but the reality is that we’re going to have 5.1 million visitors arriving on our shores in five years’ time and we need to find ways to pay for the infrastructure and everything they use,” Davis said recently at TRENZ.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts is hesitant about the increase but is open to having a conversation with the Government about it.

“Tourism is our biggest export industry, and international visitors are not freeloading. While visiting New Zealand, they pay on average more than $400 each in GST, as well as the existing border levies and other taxes.

“New Zealand already has a Border Clearance Levy of $22 per passenger, so international visitors are already paying their way.

“The Government can choose to add more taxes, but the key issue is getting more of the revenue collected to where it is needed, in terms of providing infrastructure to support the visitor economy.

“We look forward to working with the Government on this issue to reach the best possible outcome for New Zealand.”