Aoraki / Mount Cook surrounded by mountains

Even more expensive?!?!

For most travelers, New Zealand is both the least convenient and most worthwhile place on earth to visit. With brilliant city life, unique culture and boundless natural beauty both below and above sea level, it’s a destination where you can truly say there’s something for everyone. And don’t forget there are two islands to visit! Since everyone now wants to go, a new – New Zealand law is expected to pass, designed to extract a few extra bucks out of almost every visitor.

a blue passport on a tableLaunch Of Electronic Visas

New Zealand has put a bill into motion, which would adapt the electronic visa “ETA” style chosen by the United States of America, Canada, Australia and many other nations. The electronic visa or (ETA) would be obtained prior to arrival and would carry a nonrefundable application fee. The proposed electronic visa application fee is $35 New Zealand Dollars, which equates to roughly £18 British Pounds or $25 U.S. Dollars. Australian citizens and residents of most Pacific Islands would be excluded from the new tourist tax. The tourist tax is expected to pass through the New Zealand government on July 15th, for implementation in 2019.

Aoraki / Mount Cook surrounded by mountainsA Tourism Boom

Tourism has boomed in New Zealand over recent years, and the country of roughly 4.6 million inhabitants sees nearly that many visitors each year, with 3.8 million estimated visitors in 2017 and even more expected for 2018 and beyond. The influx has put a strain on the island nation with both natural resources and public infrastructure. The new visa and ETA fees are expected to generate $80 million for New Zealand annually, which, in theory, will be used in equal parts for conservation and tourism infrastructure initiatives. The Milford Sound is simply too beautiful to allow it to turn into a dump.

a landscape with mountains and waterThe Way Forward

Cumbersome visa processes prevent travelers from actually traveling, but modern ETA’s such as those proposed by New Zealand to launch in mid 2019 are far from hassle. You don’t have to send your passport off, you don’t have to wait weeks and months, you just fill out an online form, pay the fee and generally – voila. it’s pretty straight forward.  Revenues generated from visa fees are too attractive for almost any nation to pass up, especially one with such demand and this is far from unexpected. If it helps New Zealand fight to protect any environmental issues caused by the influx of tourism, it’s worth it. After all, if you’re paying to fly all the way around the world, what’s another $25?

How do you feel about this new tourist tax?


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. So there’s too many people traveling to the ends of the earth to spend money in New Zealand, and the country’s answer to this bonanza is to tax the visitors additionally for providing this massive economic benefit? I wish that I had so many customers that I could just add a surcharge to their bills for flooring replacement because of wear and tear.

  2. If the money actually goes to keeping the place clean and improving the experience overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay. There are plenty of days when I would happily pay $25 just to come home to a clean house.

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