3 Oct 2012

Tourism boss pushes for tax decision

9:01 am on 3 October 2012

The head of the Tourism Industry Association says it's time to finalise the decades-long debate on a tourist tax.

Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd supports a bed tax where tourists are charged a fee on each night's accomodation and the money is collected and used at a regional level.

But delegates at a the tourism association's annual conference in Wellington this week were warned against a regional model.

Australian Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive said a more broadly based tax application would maximise revenue and have less overall impact on tourists.

A broad-based tax application, the option favoured by the Prime Minister John Key, could include taxing visitors at the border.

Mr Key says regional systems - whether tourist taxes or petrol taxes - cause disortions. "If we were going to do it we'd prefer to do it across the country."

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Martin Snedden says he wants to get the debate back on the table and move it along as quickly as possible to a conclusion, whatever that might be.

The Association has indicated it will prepare a report for the Government by the middle of next year.