Tourism industry wants more money despite boost for infrastructure fund

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The tourism industry believes more money could be added to help fund visitor levies, despite a boost to the tourism infrastructure fund.

The tourism industry's investigating ways to fund visitor levies as smaller regions struggle with the influx of tourists.
Source: Breakfast

Tourism Industry Aotearoa is investigating sustainable funding models as smaller regions around the country are struggling to accommodate increasing visitor numbers. 

It was announced yesterday the Government opened another round of the grant for up to $5.5 million in extra funding to help answer the demands from local authorities. 

Councils can apply for a grant from the fund, which has increased from $12 million to $17.5 million, that can be put towards facilities such as freedom camping sites, toilets and wastewater infrastructure. 

However, CEO of Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Chris Roberts says the fund needs a much bigger increase and is one option to help fund visitor levies.

"What we think is that that can grow to something more substantial, another digit at least on that number and being able to provide a decent pool of funding that can assist councils around the country to put in that infrastructure," he told TVNZ's Breakfast programme this morning. 

"Visitors to New Zealand are providing 1.15 billion in GST every year, so they are being taxed.

"It's not a question of visitors to New Zealand not being taxed.

"There is a lot of GST being collected from them, so if the government wants it can redirect some of that money into the fund."

Mr Roberts said the idea of an Auckland accommodation levy is "flawed" and believes there should be a national approach. 

"Let's have one way of doing this across the whole country, not having every city, town or region coming up with its own ideas.

"Every council might have an idea of what they might do in their location, so that's why we think national solutions are far better like this infrastructure fund that is open to every single council in the country to apply to." 

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