Tourists planning a trip to New Zealand should prepare for additional expenses while traveling to the country renowned for its landscapes, except for Australians and those from nearby Pacific islands.
While the increased influx of tourists has contributed a significant boost in the country's economy, it has put stress over its capacity to manage its rising number of visitors.
New Zealand Infrastructure Projects
"As the number of visitors to our country increases year on year, so does the pressure grow on our infrastructure, on our conservation estate, and on our communities. In many places, our tourism infrastructure is creaking at the seams. As a Government we need to find a way to provide sustainable funding to invest in both our Tourism Infrastructure and our Conservation estate," said New Zealand Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis.
"We don't believe that the financial burden should rest purely on the shoulders of New Zealanders. We do believe that visitors should pay their fair share," he added.
Famous for being the location of the blockbuster saga "Lord of the Rings," the country has a population of 4.9 million. Already one of the most popular travel destinations, the government predicts that the number of visitors will go up to 5.1 million by 2024.
Davis said that the additional tax directed on infrastructure, tourism, and conservation would raise 60 to 80 million on its first year.
Thinly populated areas in the country where only a few residents live would benefit most from the tax such as Franz Josef Glacier and South Island, which only have a few residents cannot afford to pay for infrastructure projects such as carparks or toilets in the area despite its big number of visitors.
The government has also set a consultation period in order to see if the tax can help the communities and ratepayers on the costs for tourism-related infrastructure.
The tax will be under application for visa or electronic travel authorization. Although the country's electronic travel authorization system, alike to the United States, is not ready yet, Davis promised that the system would be "hassle-free."
"When you're talking about the additional cost to, say, someone coming from the United States who are already paying about NZ$1,200, an extra NZ$25-NZ$30 isn't going to make that much of a difference," he said.
New Zealand government plans for the tax to take effect on next year's second half. Furthermore, the government is also seeking the help of the public for suggestions on where else the raised funds can be aimed at.