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New Zealand investing in sustainable tourism and conservation projects

Starting 1st July 2019, New Zealand has been charging most international visitors entering the country an admission fee of NZD $35. The fee applies to all foreign visitors, except citizens of Australia and some small Pacific nations. Also exempt from paying are transit passengers, crews on ships and aircraft.

Income from the now implemented measure, known as the International Visitor Levy, will be invested in sustainable tourism and conservation projects. The idea behind the initiative is to ensure that New Zealander’s lives are enriched by sustainable tourism growth, whilst protecting and supporting the local environment.

The numbers

Visitor numbers to New Zealand have seen strong growth over the past few years. The trend is expected to continue and, overall, international visitor arrivals to New Zealand are forecast to reach 5.1 million in 2024. This is an increase of 37% in comparison with 2017.

The International Visitor Levy (IVL) meanwhile, is expected to raise over NZD $450 million during this same period; that is to say during its first five years. A number of projects will be funded by the IVL, contributing to the long-term sustainability of tourism in New Zealand.

Backpackers in New Zealand


All projects funded by the IVL share the common goal of protecting -and enhancing- New Zealand’s biodiversity whilst upholding the country’s reputation as a world-class experience. Not only will local communities benefit, but also visitors themselves.

Finally, there will also be a positive impact on the environment. In essence, the array of projects will contribute directly to the country’s unique natural heritage and its infrastructure. A full list of currently announced projects can be found here.

Investment priorities include, but are not limited to:

  • regional and community partnerships;
  • protecting sensitive and ecologically valuable landscapes;
  • enhancing and protecting biodiversity, cultural heritage and visitor safety;
  • protecting biodiversity through improved destination management;
  • protecting endangered species from smuggling.
Sea kayak in Milford Sound

Going Forward

Currently, all IVL-related projects are part of an initial investment plan, with a long-term vision expected to be published by October 2019.

Also starting 1st October 2019, visitors to New Zealand must request -and pay for- a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority. Abbreviated as NZeTA, it must be requested before travelling. The new security and facilitation measure intends to speed things up at the border for incoming travellers.

Visitors from some 60 visa-waiver countries will, after approval, be allowed to stay in the country for up to three months. The only official way to request an NZeTA is through New Zealand Government’s official website. Each request costs NZD $9 when using the official (free) app, or NZD $12 if completed online. Once granted, it will be valid for multiple entry for a period of 2 years.