Chamber backs visitor levy

Aug 15, 2018

A survey of one hundred local businesses has uncovered widespread support for a local visitor tax.

The survey, carried out by the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce in both Queenstown and Wanaka, found that 81% agreed that a bed tax, or local levy, should be supported and include only tourists.

94% of the businesses taking part in the survey agreed that local ratepayers could not be expected to fund local tourism related infrastructure.

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Queenstown Chamber of Commerce CEO Ann Lockhart. "A local tax would provide a funding answer to the cost of tourism growth."

Chamber Chief Executive Ann Lockhart said, “A local visitor levy would remove the need to rely solely on local rates and Central Government funding to manage our own infrastructure, environmental and visitor experience.”

“The number of residents and the ratings base are simply too small. It’s well known that in this district there are around 34 visitors for each resident compared to Auckland’s 1:1 ratio,” says Ms Lockhart.

The region, which saw three million visitors in the last year, has enough capable talent to manage its own challenges, evolve, and protect its future as a world-class destination, she said.

“It needs for Government and industry bodies to recognise the benefits of direct funding which would come with a well-managed and implemented visitor levy.”

The Chamber’s research, according to a media statement released today, shows that a small additional levy on each visitor, as proven effective in many top tourism destinations around the world, provides a funding answer to the challenges of Queenstown Lakes’ high tourism growth.

“Our visitors can help to pay for the upkeep and investment of the area. As in other tourism destinations, they can appreciate that the small amount that they pay will help to protect and enhance the wonderful experience for which the Queenstown Lakes District is known around the world.”

 

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