Tourism industry, Paula Bennett don't want Goff's levy

  • 03/04/2017

A tourism lobby group says taxing international visitors is not the direction New Zealand should head.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has said the country can't cope with the numbers of tourists coming here, and has proposed a $5 or $10 levy at hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts.

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett said on Sunday it was already very expensive for tourists to visit, and adding further costs wouldn't help. Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts agrees.

"New Zealand is at the far end of the world, it does cost plenty of money to get here. That means we have deliver a high-quality experience for every visitor that comes here," he told Newshub.

"Our international visitors are paying $1.2 billion a year in GST, so they're already making a very strong contribution."

Mr Roberts says while taxing tourists isn't the answer, the Government does need to fund better infrastructure around the country.

"It's very easy to think about the pressures that come with the growth in tourism, but this is by far our biggest export earner. By investing back into infrastructure we can ensure that our communities are coping and our visitors continue to get an outstanding experience."

Mr Goff says motels and hotels won't be hit hard, because accommodation makes up only a small part of visitors' spending, and the levy would also cover casual providers, such as those renting rooms through Airbnb.