TIA: GST windfall strengthens investment case

An 18% jump in tourism-generated GST has prompted the Tourism Industry Aotearoa to repeats calls for a chunk of this tax to be reinvested in infrastructure.

According to the 2017 Tourism Satellite Account, international visitors paid $1.5bn in GST, while domestic tourism contributed $1.8bn.

In total that is an 18% increase on the total tourist contribution of $2.8bn reported in last year’s Stat’s NZ TSA.

TIA chief executive, Chris Roberts, said that this contribution “certainly adds more weight to TIA’s argument that some of the GST windfall from the tourism boom should be invested back into funding infrastructure needs.”

The organisation took the opportunity to bring this to the attention of the new tourism minister, Kelvin Davis, at TIA-organised meeting with several tourism bodies yesterday.

“We…took the opportunity to bring to Minister Davis’ attention the new GST figures in the TSA, which show that the government is collecting much more in GST from visitors than was previously thought.”

The TIA is on record as not supporting the Labour Party’s campaign proposal of a $25 international visitor levy.

A statement from the TIA added that the minister “made a commitment to talk to the industry and take into account its views before the Government makes decisions on any new funding mechanisms”.

The meeting, which brought together the Bus and Coach Association of New Zealand, Holiday Parks New Zealand, Hospitality New Zealand, the New Zealand Airports Association, the New Zealand Cycle Trail, Regional Tourism New Zealand, the Rental Vehicle Association and the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand, covered other ground.

This included the tourism industry’s current priorities, as outlined in TIA’s Brief to the Minister of Tourism, including engagement with the Government, sustainability, infrastructure, and people and skills.

TIA said the minister was particularly interested in how more young people can be encouraged to consider careers in tourism, and how the industry can support regional development.

As well as being keen to meet regularly with the tourism organisations, Davis has offered to coordinate a meeting with other key ministers whose portfolios affect tourism, including Conservation, Transport, Customs, Immigration and Employment.

“It was a very useful meeting and we covered the key issues where the industry and Government can work in partnership to deliver sustainable benefits to New Zealand,” Roberts said.

He added: “We look forward to continuing discussions with minister Davis on these issues and reaching solutions that will benefit all of New Zealand.”

Addressing the wider results from the TSA, the TIA said the tourism industry’s immense contribution to New Zealand is reflected in the new economic statistics.

The 2017 Tourism Satellite Account shows that more than 230,000 people are directly employed in tourism (8.4% of the workforce), with another 168,357 or 6.1% indirectly employed.

“That means one in seven people employed in New Zealand are supporting themselves and their families thanks to tourism,” Roberts said.

It shows that the tourism industry is well on track to meet its Tourism 2025 goal of growing total revenue to $41bn a year.

Total tourism spend for the year ended March 2017 was $36bn. Domestic tourism contributed $21.4bn, with international visitors spending $14.5bn.

This expenditure keeps international tourism as New Zealand’s biggest export sector, at 20.7% of total exports.

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