Submission urges visitor levy

Jim Boult
Jim Boult
The Government has again been urged to introduce a tourist levy to help regions struggling under the weight of increasing tourism pressures.

Queenstown Lakes District Council, Destination Queenstown and Lake Wanaka Tourism released their joint submission on the draft Government Tourism Strategy yesterday.

A major theme was the need for a regional approach, the submission calling for ''an investment framework that recognises regional differences, meets regional needs, and results in regional funding streams''.

That included a local visitor levy, something Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult has repeatedly pushed for.

The submitters also want central government to take a more active role, both in its own right and in pushing for more collaboration.

Mr Boult said the strategy indicated a step in the right direction and, given the pace of growth in the industry, it needed to be managed ''in a sustainable, holistic way''.

''Our district is seen as the go-to location for many visitors to New Zealand and we want to maintain this image; however. we also do not want to stifle what makes our region so special. It definitely is a balancing act.

''Through this tourism strategy, we hope to see greater strategic and sustainable investment by Government, particularly in regards to pressure points such as infrastructure.''

Lake Wanaka Tourism chairman Mark Morrison approved of the decision to create a national tourism strategy.

''It is critical that the strategy is embraced by an all-of-government approach that recognises tourism as New Zealand's No1 export earner and fulfils the ambition for tourism to improve the lives of New Zealanders.

''To be successful, this long-overdue strategy will need a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach from central government, across legislation, policy, funding and research.''

Destination Queenstown chairman Matt Hollyer said the tourism strategy should provide tools and resources for each region and the industry to ''ensure its continued success''.

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