The New Zealand government has revealed that it’s planning to introduce a tax on most international arrivals.
The tax, which could be up to NZ$35 (approx. £18) per person, will be used to pay for infrastructure improvements and environmental protection.
“It’s only fair that [tourists] make a small contribution so that we can help provide the infrastructure they need and better protect the natural places they enjoy,” said Kelvin Davis, New Zealand minister for tourism.
New Zealand claims its existing infrastructure is buckling under the pressure of tourist numbers having risen by a third in the past three years alone. “This rapid growth has impacted on the costs and availability of publicly-provided infrastructure,” said Davis. “Many regions are struggling to cope and urgently need improved infrastructure, from toilet facilities to car parks.”
Visitors from nearby Australia, who make up the largest percentage of tourism to New Zealand, will be exempt from the tax, alongside numerous Pacific Island nations.
People who do need to pay will do so with their visa applications. Any traveller eligible for a visa-on-arrival will pay the tax through a new electronic travel authority which will be rolled out when the tax comes into effect.
It looks like others fees, including those for working holiday visas, will also see a significant increase.
Earlier this year, New Zealand launched a new tourism campaign starring comedian Rhys Darby, focused on the fact that the country is frequently left off world maps:
Want to go before the tax comes into effect? Don’t forget to read our 101 most incredible things to do in New Zealand guide.