New Zealand's Tourist Tax Will Be Used to Combat Overtourism
In September, New Zealand announced its plan to tax tourists entering the country for the first time in its history. And now, we’re learning exactly where all those tourist-driven tax dollars will go.
As Travel+Leisure previously reported, the country introduced its International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL). With the tax, visitors will be required to fork over $35 NZD ($23) when they apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).
The new tax is expected to go into effect in the second half of 2019. Every international visitor (with a few exemptions) planning to stay 12 months or less will be required to pay when obtaining their visa or Electronic Travel Authority authorization.
The tax is expected to net the country an estimated NZ $57-80 million ($39.7-55.8 million USD) in the first year. And now, officials are sharing just where all that money will be spent.
“Projects funded by the IVL will contribute to the long-term sustainability of tourism here, by protecting and enhancing our natural environment, upholding New Zealand’s reputation as a world class experience and addressing the way vital tourism infrastructure is funded,” New Zealand’s Minister of Tourism, Kelvin Davis, said in a statement, according to The Points Guy.
As local experts further explained, the money will be used to help combat the damage overtourism has done to the region.
“For many years in New Zealand, we had levels of visitor arrivals that we could cope with and that could be sustained,” professor James Higham, from the University of Otago’s Department of Tourism, told The Points Guy. “For most of the last decade, the growth in arrivals to New Zealand has been high and relentless.”
But, with all the new money, New Zealand may be able to better conserve its natural landscapes, which is one of the many reason international visitors flock there in the first place.
“It provides an opportunity for visitors to New Zealand to directly contribute to the infrastructure they use, and the environment they enjoy,” Davis added. So rest assured those extra dollars are going toward something truly spectacular.