New Zealand to Tax Tourists to Fund Infrastructure
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New Zealand announced plans to introduce a tourist tax and increase other fees for international visitors to fund infrastructure development in the face of a tourist boom.
Tourism numbers in the country of 4.5 million have surged by nearly a third in the past three years to 3.8 million in the year to April.
â€This rapid growth has impacted on the costs and availability of publicly-provided infrastructure" tourism minister Kelvin Davis said.
â€Many regions are struggling to cope and urgently need improved infrastructure, from toilet facilities to carparks.â€
Australians and most Pacific Island forum countries will be exempt from the new charges.
Tourism is a key pillar of the New Zealand economy and the new tax is expected to raise up to NZ$80mil (RM221mil) in its first year, which will be split between tourism infrastructure and conservation initiatives.
The main opposition National Party claimed the new tax system would make New Zealand a "less attractiveâ€ destination.
But Davis believed the impact on tourist numbers would be minimal.
â€When you're talking about the additional cost to, say, someone coming from the United States who are already paying about NZ$1,200 (RM3,320), an extra NZ$25-NZ$30 isn't going to make that much of a difference" he said.