After Japan’s announcement of its “sayonara tax,” New Zealand is the latest country to announce its intention to implement a tourist tax, saying that it could go into effect as early as next year. The tax, which will be levied on international tourists entering the country, is planned to be set at NZ$25 (US$17).
According to the tourism minister, Kelvin Davis, the money will be used to create a “Tourism and Conservation Infrastructure Fund” which will put the money back into conservation and the tourism economy. It is estimated that the tax will raise NZ$75 million (US$52 million).
If New Zealand does introduce the tax, it won’t be alone in doing so. Apart from Japan, major cities such as Amsterdam, New York, Paris, and recently Frankfurt, all have a tourist tax on those staying overnight in the city. This is just one of many methods used to tackle overtourism, which may backfire, as in with recent tourist barricades in Venice.
Tourist Tax Looks To Curb Overtourism
The tax was proposed by New Zealand’s Labour Party last year, and has already been met with disapproval by other political parties who think it will deter visitors to New Zealand, and slow down the economy.
As of 2015, tourists entering New Zealand are already charged $22, and the new tax of $25 will be added to this. It still remains to be seen where it will be added, though airfare is the most likely candidate. New Zealand has had something of a tourism boom over the past few years, seeing 3.7 million visitors last year alone. By 2024 this is expected to reach 5.1 million. As Davis says, “I don’t want our environmental and tourist reputation damaged”.
With such a surge in visitors, facilities like public toilets, car-parking, and accommodation are under huge strain. The new tourist tax plans fund such tourist facilities without making residents pay for it.