New Zealand to introduce International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy

The New Zealand Parliament has passed legislation enabling the collection of the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) from 1st July 2019.

From this date, most international visitors entering New Zealand for a period of 12 months or less will be charged a tourism levy of NZ$35. There will be some exemptions, most notably Australian citizens and permanent residents and people from many Pacific Island countries.

The new legislation will also enable digital processing of the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA), for citizens of visa waiver countries, which will be mandatory from 1st October this year.

The conservation and tourism levy will be collected through the immigration system, with travellers paying the IVL alongside visa or NZeTA fees.

“The IVL is an investment in New Zealand,” explained Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis. “It is expected to raise over NZ$450 million over 5 years, funding projects to ensure our country and our people get the best from tourism growth. Our international visitors will be contributing directly to the infrastructure they use and helping to protect the natural places they enjoy,” Kelvin Davis said.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says New Zealand’s natural and cultural heritage is at the heart of our tourism industry and national identity, and the IVL will help to protect that.

“Funds from the levy will be invested in projects that protect and enhance our natural environment and biodiversity, and safeguard Aotearoa’s taonga for generations to come,” said Minister Sage. “As visitor numbers rise, we must ensure the tourism industry is part of the solution for our biggest conservation challenges. The levy enables visitors to give nature a helping hand.”

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says the NZeTA is an important step in strengthening New Zealand’s border security. The legislation extends Immigration New Zealand’s automated decision-making to include the NZeTA, creating a speedy and efficient service.

“Around 1.5 million visitors come to New Zealand each year from 60 visa waiver countries. The NZeTA will provide us with more information about those travellers before they arrive here and brings New Zealand’s border in line with international best practice,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.

It will be easy for visitors to pay the new fees. The immigration system will determine whether a person needs to pay the IVL when they apply for a visa or ETA application.

Article published 4th June 2019