Tourists visiting NZ to pay new $35 levy fee

By Jessica Tyson

From mid-way next year international visitors will be required to pay $35 to enter New Zealand as part of a new tourism levy approved by cabinet today.

The levy is expected to raise $80mil a year to go toward tourism infrastructure and conservation projects.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says public consultation showed strong support for the levy, with the majority of the 107 submitters in favour of setting the fee at $35.

 "The money raised through the levy will help improve the protection and enhancement of New Zealand's distinctive natural environment and improve tourism planning," says Sage.

“The chance to enjoy Aotearoa's spectacular landscapes and nature are a major reason international visitors come to our country.”

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis says the intention is for funds to be split evenly between conservation and tourism.

Further work with stakeholders will also be done to decide the best ways to spend the levy's revenue.

"We have a couple of options on how to do this and will work through those with our partners, but the main feature of the levy is that it's revenue will be set aside for conservation work and tourism infrastructure," Davis says.

The legislation is due to be passed around the middle of next year and will be collected through visa fees and a new Electronic Travel Authority.