Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Should Tourists Be Taxed to Protect the Environment? as Overtourism Continues to Be a Problem, New Zealand's Government Is Proposing a New Tourism Tax. SARAH MARSHALL Reports

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Should Tourists Be Taxed to Protect the Environment? as Overtourism Continues to Be a Problem, New Zealand's Government Is Proposing a New Tourism Tax. SARAH MARSHALL Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH MARSHALL

T'S A challenge faced by popular destinations all over the world: How do you cope with a growing tourism industry? IWhile authorities in Barcelona and Venice are desperately trying to manage disgruntled residents, New Zealand's government is taking a proactive approach.

They are proposing a new International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy to cover the cost of improved infrastructure and conservation needs.

Although still under consultation, if the tourism tax is approved it will likely come into effect by the end of 2019, with international visitors charged a levy of 25 - 35 New Zealand dollars.

Current plans would exclude children under two, Australian citizens and permanent residents, people from the Pacific Islands Forum countries (including Tonga and Samoa), anyone travelling on a diplomatic, medical and humanitarian visa, military, business visitor visas and APEC business traveller card holders.

WHAT WILL THE MONEY BE USED FOR? IT'S estimated the new visa and ETA system could raise up to NZ$80 million a year, and reports suggest it will be spent on amenities including car parks, toilets and walking track maintenance, and in support of conservation projects, including native planting, breeding programmes and predator eradication.

"The New Zealand government is seeking solutions to fund infrastructure necessary to support increasing visitor numbers," says Pip Casey, regional manager, Europe at Tourism New Zealand.

"Visitors to New Zealand enjoy free access to 13 stunning National Parks and extensive Department Of Conservation estate, and it's important these areas are protected. We need to ensure tourism enriches New Zealand for the future enjoyment of Kiwis and visitors alike, and that the country has infrastructure to support tourism growth."

Should tourists be accountable for their impact on a destination? IT'S hard to dispute that tourists should, in some way, pay for the footprint they leave. With more people travelling, we're inevitably affecting the environments we visit, so something must be done to redress the balance. …

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