Davis sees tourism levy by Budget 2019

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has announced the Government is looking at a Tourist Levy. Photo by Lynn Grieveson.

The Government is looking to institute a tourist levy on international visitors by Budget 2019, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Labour promised the levy before the election.

He said the levy would go towards plugging gaps in infrastructure caused by the recent upsurge in international visitors.

Davis said that the details of the scheme, including who to include, who to exclude, how to collect, where to collect, and how much, had not yet been worked out but the Davis said the Government hopes to have it implemented by Budget 2019.

He also discussed the work of the freedom camping working group. He said that he wanted the group to work quickly and intended to have “practical actions in place” by the time of the next peak season.

He pointed to the Government’s commitment to continuing the Tourism Infrastructure Fund spend of $25 million a year for four years, and that to date $35 million from the Provincial Growth Fund had been invested in Tourism-related projects.

MBIE forecasts predict that international visitor numbers will increase 37 percent to 5.1 million annually by 2024. It anticipates they will spend $14.8 billion in 2024, a 40 percent increase form 2017.

Correction and clarification: an earlier version of this story said Davis intended to implement a tourism levy by the peak season. The Government hopes to implement actions from the freedom camping working group by peak season this year and the levy by Budget 2019