Tourism Infrastructure Funding

It has been forecasted that by 2025 there will be over 5 million international visitors to New Zealand, the majority of which will seek to recreate on Public Conservation Land.

In many ways, the tourism has enhanced recreation in New Zealand.

However, there have been associated costs and pressure points that need to be addressed. The Department of Conservation and Territorial Local Authorities have, almost by default, borne the burden. These entities have struggled to cope with the pressures placed upon their carparking, wastewater and recreational infrastructure. Underfunded infrastructure not only undermines the recreational experience of New Zealanders, it has the potential to harm New Zealand’s Tourism brand.

This has forced them to make some very tough decisions between catering for international visitors and their role of providing for New Zealand recreationalists.

NZRA supports a National Tourism Levy, of the type proposed by the McKinsey Tourism Infrastructure Study and commends its focus on infrastructure that is used by both locals and tourists.

Recognising that the majority of Tourists come to New Zealand engage in recreational activities such as walking and cycling, NZRA believes that the proceeds of such a levy should be allocated to recreational infrastructure.

Expenditure on recreational infrastructure such as walking trails and cycleways, is not just a coping mechanism for the tourism boom. It also enhances the lives of New Zealanders by way of the numerous social, economic and health benefits of outdoor recreation.

NZRA supports free and open access to Public Conservation Land. Given their porous nature and the high administrative burden, NZRA is opposes to site-specific charging for entry into National Parks. If visitor charges are introduced for National Parks, they should only be done so in a very few specific sites where necessary to cover an abnormally high cost of infrastructure. New Zealand residents should be exempt from any charging.

To give us your views on this issue, contact our Advocacy Manager.

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