Tourism levy spending plans unveiled as Government moves to more hands-on role

Money collected by a new levy on tourists will be split evenly between tourism projects and conservation as the Government plans a more hands-on role in the booming visitor industry.

About $80 million a year is expected to be collected from international visitors as part of the new levy which faced some opposition from the tourist industry.

This was needed to make sure growth was productive, sustainable and inclusive and help support the regions.

The strategy envisaged a number of new areas of cross-agency work and aimed to ensure those who benefit from infrastructure contribute to its costs.

A draft out today says that there is increased pressure on the environment and infrastructure as well as perceptions that the character of New Zealand's best loved places may be changing.

"Due to the relatively low population density in New Zealand, the impact of visitors in some places can be more visible. The impacts are often more pronounced when growth is poorly managed."

In the year to June just under 3.8 million visitors arrived in New Zealand. Tourism earned about $14 billion or a fifth of the country's exports last year.

Small communities with low rating bases but large numbers of visitors face problems building facilities such as toilets and parking areas.

"Tourism is a huge contributor to New Zealand's economic success and we need to continue to ensure we get the best from tourism growth for our country and people, while managing the challenges that come with it," Davis said.