'A Good Start’ - Government’s new tourism levy welcomed

Fish and Game is backing the government’s proposed levy on overseas visitors, saying it is a good start to tackling the growing pressure on New Zealand’s back country.

The government today announced it wants to introduce a levy of up to $35 on inbound visitors to pay for tourism infrastructure and conservation.  It is planned to introduce the new charges in 2019.

Fish & Game Chief Executive Martin Taylor says the move is welcome and is long overdue.

“Our back country is coming under increasing pressure from burgeoning tourist numbers.  This tourist tsunami is unsustainable - we can’t go on like this because it’s hurting the environment and Kiwis’ ability to enjoy the outdoors,” Mr Taylor says.

“Tourism is a valuable income earner but it shouldn’t be operating at the expense of the average New Zealander wanting to go camping, fishing, hunting or tramping.”

Martin Taylor says the money raised from the levy must be spent improving backcountry facilities and protecting the environment.

Mr Taylor is also welcoming the government’s new strategic approach to tourism.

“Ensuring we protect this country’s reputation as a tourist destination is vital for the economy.  The previous uncontrolled approach was threatening to kill the golden goose by providing an overcrowded and second rate experience,” he says.

“Today’s levy proposal and the new policy of charging overseas visitors more for using huts and campsites on the Great Walks are welcome.”