NZ tourism chiefs urge government to invest in infrastructure

The CEOs present their report to the NZ Prime Minister
The CEOs present their report to the NZ Prime Minister

Four of New Zealand’s top tourism executives have proposed the establishment of a national fund to “address the infrastructure challenges” in the country.

In a joint report, which was released today (2 December 2016), the chief executives of Air New Zealand, Auckland Airport, Christchurch Airport and Tourism Holdings, have urged the country’s government to create a NZ$130 million (US$92m) annual fund to improve infrastructure, including car parks, sanitation and visitor facilities.

“As the tourism industry grows it’s important that local public infrastructure keeps pace but we also need to be realistic about the ability of some local communities to fund the ongoing investment required,” said Malcolm Johns, Christchurch Airport’s CEO.

“Rapid tourism growth over recent years means there’s already a local tourism infrastructure deficit in parts of New Zealand, especially in regions with low numbers of rate-paying residents and high visitor numbers.”

The proposed annual fund would help improve infrastructure in remote areas
The proposed annual fund would help improve infrastructure in remote areas

The report suggests that government and industry can work together to create the fund. The proposed “National Tourism Infrastructure Levy” would include a 2% national bed levy across the accommodation sector and a NZ$5 increase to the border fee, which the report states would generate NZ$65m per year.

Matching funds from the government, which could be raised from the estimated NZ$2.8 billion that tourists pay every year in GST (goods and service tax), would bring the total to NZ$130m.

“This work is a great example of industry leaders working together to create a national and targeted tourism infrastructure funding mechanism to ensure the long term sustainable growth of tourism,” said Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand’s CEO.

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