PM: Doing nothing is not an option

John Key Tourism Summit Aotearoa 2016

Doing nothing is not an option in the face of record tourist numbers but figuring out how best for the government to respond is still being determined, says Prime Minister John Key.

Speaking at the Tourism Summit Aotearoa 2016 at Te Papa in Wellington last week, the Minister of Tourism said the country’s current tourism infrastructure would not be able to cope with further large increases in visitor numbers.

“The one thing I don’t think [is] an option, is to do nothing. I don’t think you can sustain going from three to four to five million tourists and not be, frankly, building more toilets and more facilities,” said Key.

International research conducted by consultancy McKinsey & Company would soon provide the government with some insight into funding models for tourism infrastructure.

The report would identify around 50 projects in need of investment and consider funding options from bed and departure taxes to special tourism levies, said Key.

“The question then becomes, how much money do you need, what would you allow it to be used for and who would decide? And then the last bit is, how would you fund it? If you go through that, it’s quite tricky.”

The redistribution of a bed tax, for example, could lead to more remote regions missing out on much-needed investment if the money raised was only spent in the area it was earned.

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