New Zealand says overseas tourists will need to ‘pay their way’

The country will soon welcome back visitors with open arms, but they may need to bring an open wallet...

By Bloomberg News, March 28 2022
New Zealand says overseas tourists will need to ‘pay their way’

New Zealand may ask international visitors to pay more to access some of the nation’s natural attractions as the government seeks ways to limit the impact of tourism on the environment.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash told a University of Otago conference Friday he is “planning ways now to ensure that our future visitors pay their way.”

Prior to the pandemic, tourism generated more foreign income for New Zealand than the dairy industry, but there were concerns about over-crowding and poor infrastructure that was damaging the nation’s clean, green image.

As the border begins to progressively re-open from April, the government is promoting a reset of tourism that focuses on quality experiences rather than volume of visitors.

“As international visitors return, we will not fall back into the old ways,” Nash said. “Tourism won’t return to the way it was. It will be better.”

The government introduced a NZ$35 ($24) a person International Visitor Levy in 2019 to help pay for projects that protect the environment and provide better facilities at tourist sites.

“Most of us could agree that NZ$35 for the IVL was fine when it first came in, but is not sustainable in the long term if we are to meet the expectations of visitors for world-class infrastructure and facilities,” said Nash.

“I am continuing to look at the IVL but no immediate changes are in store, and no cabinet decisions have been made.”

The industry needs to refocus on attracting “high value” visitors – as distinct from high net worth – and that still includes budget travelers and backpackers, Nash said.

“High-value, high quality visitors give back more than they take,” he said.

“They travel across seasons and across regions. They are environmentally conscious. They want to learn about local history and culture, and try new experiences.”

This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here

01 Apr 2022

Total posts 4

Other than the Chinese who tend to own the companies at which the Chinese tourists spend, other overseas tourists 'pay their way' by bringing much needed foreign money into the country through hotels, hire cars, meals and the like. I have just spent 4 weeks touring some US national parks where there's an entrance fee (or an annual fee for all the parks if you like) and they are very popular and well managed - no need for 'extras' such as the Kiwis are proposing. 

New Zealand has managed to keep foreigners out for the last couple of years and now is not the time to think about dissuading overseas visitors. 

One World

31 Mar 2020

Total posts 18

Well said, i couldn't agree more, this is the exact strategy imposed by Thailand Tourism Authority, pushed away Western tourists in favour of the Chinese market, it failed miserably, what next i wonder?

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 517

I doubt the TAT were the ones imposing this. On the contrary, the TAT has spoken out about dual pricing and have lobbied the government to end the practice. Dual pricing at national parks was introduced by the forestry department and rubber stamped by Thaksin Shinawatra, then Prime Minister of Thailand, around 20 years ago. Apparently the practice pre-dates this, but it was only formalised around 2001.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2014

Total posts 9

NZ is just following the same path as some other international destinations.

Who can forget the pictures of the 'traffic jam' trying to get up to the peak of Everest?  The damage to the local environment from the hundreds of tonnes of discarded items by many of the 'international tourists' flocking to Everest is not borne by the companies pocketing most of the money spent.

Similarly in Hawaii, especially on the Big Island (actually called Hawaii), the locals were complaining about the damage being done to their islands by the bulk tourism model being followed by too many operators.  In a number of locations the historic sites were being destroyed due to the sheer volume of visitors, and worse due to the souveniring being done.

The arguments pushed by some, 'Brings in valuable foreign currency' do not live up to close scrutiny.  For example 100% of the cost of fuel for flying people to/from NZ is paid to foreign companies, and typically can make up between 15 to 30% of so called 'FX earnings'.  Then add in the fuel used for travel within the country.  Typically for countries like Australia & NZ - for every extra dollar spent in the country then around 85 cents or more goes overseas.  The never discussed costs born by those who live in the country never get mentioned by the lobbyists.

A bit like the calls for increasing population size - the only people who actually benefit are the large property developers.  Everybody else lives with the increased congestion, soaring house prices (NZ & Australia are now amongst the most expensive housing markets in the world).

The old saying; "Too much of a good thing" contains much wisdom.

01 Apr 2022

Total posts 4

Slugging tourists does nothing to ease congestion - nothing at all and seems to be the default position of many governments. Most problems that were seen in Australia was to do with the Chinese tourist boom where hardly any money was coming back into the economy because of the Chinese vertical ownership of all parts of the tour ladder. Similar problems were seen elsewhere such as Europe. In the USA right now, the local tourism market is booming and their answer, for parks like Arches, is that you have to book your time in the park. Not charging more but actually modulating the flow into and out of the park - putting some effort into managing the issue rather than ripping more money off the already being bitten tourist. It's a new idea and will it work? It will be interesting to see. The major problem is with the 'package tour' where there's little interaction and the numbers just overwhelm the facility (St Mark's Square in Venice was a classic example).

What would be interesting would be to look at the figures and identify where the problems actually occur...identify the types of tours/tourists that are overwhelming the system and manage those. See if there are any patterns that in the future could be better managed. 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 517

OK, so what is New Zealand suggesting here...introducing a foreigner price for entry to national parks, such as what Thailand does?

Will we be seeing signs like: New Zealanders - NZ$10, foreigners (international visitors) - NZ$50?

In Thailand, most national parks charge non-Thais 5-10 times more than nationals. For example, Thais typically pay 40 Baht to enter the larger national parks, while foreign nationals (this generally includes expats too) 400 Baht. Smaller or less popular parks charge Thais 20-40 Baht, and foreigners 200 Baht. Some parks charge Thais 20 Baht and foreigners 100 Baht.

Those that "look Thai" can often, though not always, enter for the Thai price (this is particularly true in less touristy areas, where locals don't come across many foreign visitors). This has led to widespread accusations of racism and discrimination, but the Thai government is not budging. Foreigners are rich and pay more, that's how they justify this policy. In fact, it's become more widespread over the years, not less...even though Thailand as a country has become wealthier and is now firmly a middle income country with a sizeable middle class, where many residents would put Aussies to shame with their large mansions, multiple land holdings and lavish lifestyles!

I thought this concept was dead and buried in the west. I must say I'm surprised New Zealand is moving in this direction. The NZ$35 entry fee is already a "foreigner tax" though it doesn't apply to us Australians. It does apply to Americans and Europeans though. Other than Australians & Kiwis of course, only permanent residents and citizens of certain Pacific Islands, are exempt.

To add an additional fee when visiting attractions inside the country is frankly quite off-putting.

01 Apr 2022

Total posts 4

Agree FreqFlyer - If I see dual pricing, I just wouldn't go. 


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1422

The solution is an annual park pass for residents and a very high single visit fee. When I used to go to Kosciusko national park in NSW Australia,  I got an annual pass as I recall based on license address as it was much the same as a single visit fee. Not that hard or scary really. The Taj Mahal has a rupee fee and a dollar fee. Who pays which is based on residency. The whole idea is unremarkable, and it is effectively dual pricing, and going is entirely optional.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 517

My understanding is that the Taj Mahal has a three tier pricing system. Indians pay 20 Rupees, citizens of other South Asian countries 500 Rupees and everyone else (such as Aussies) 1000 Rupees. Never heard of a dollar system or any discounts for expats. Pretty sure like Thailand (and other Asian countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar etc.) government managed sites charge foreign nationals the foreigner price regardless of their residency.

The Taj Mahal is definitely an example of dual pricing, not effectively but in actuality. Or to be more precise, triple pricing, since they offer a 50% discount for citizens of neighboring countries.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 517

According to the Business insider, prices have now increased. Should have checked it first before posting, but anyway, the point remains valid as does the approx. price differential between local Indian tourists and foreigners.

Indians now pay 80 Rupees, while foreigners pay 1200. Presumably the other South Asian nationalities 600 (not mentioned in the article). The proposal is to raise both (Indian/foreigner) even further, to 480 and 1600 respectively.

12 Apr 2022

Total posts 1

This is not even new or original. Many countries already tax visitors in many different ways. Hotel Tax, Rental Car Tax, Airport Tax, and so on. The end of such money is totally unknown. Whoever is going to visit your country already paid a lot of money for the airfare, so .5% or 1% is not even worth it to talk about it.

01 Apr 2022

Total posts 4

Those taxes, such as Hotel and Rental tax are applied to everyone, not just visitors and I'm not saying NZ is alone in this. But having just spent a month and half in the US, they did not differentiate between overseas visitors and locals as far as taxes went - in fact, tourists could get relief from state taxes in some cases - and that encourages more expenditure by the tourist.

Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 7

NZ should be careful. Expensive and isolated. In the current times where other countries are begging for business, is now the time to think about a vastly unpopular dual pricing system?

Sure, some SE Asian countries do it, but it's just about palatable given the vast disparity in incomes. No excuse.

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