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New Zealand to Start Taxing Tourists | Frommer's Ian Trafford/Tourism New Zealand

New Zealand to Start Taxing Tourists

The price of a vacation in New Zealand is about to go up. 

The country's government has announced plans to charge a new tax on tourists, expected to go into effect in the middle of 2019.

International visitors staying less than 12 months will be charged somewhere in the range of NZ$25–35 (US$17–24). Citizens of Australia and most Pacific Island Forum countries will be exempt from the fee. 

According to CNBC, travelers from everywhere else will pay the tax when applying for visas or "through a new electronic travel authority that people eligible for visas on arrival would have to apply to and pay the fee."

In its announcement, the New Zealand government says the purpose of the tax is to "ensure our international visitors contribute to the infrastructure they use and help protect the natural environment they enjoy."

Tourism is booming in New Zealand, a country of 4.7 million that gets almost that many visitors each year.

Politicians say that revenues from the tourism tax—estimated at NZ$57–80 million (US$39–55 million) annually, according to Travel + Leisure—will go toward alleviating the strain caused by those multitudes of vacationers on everything from ancient forests to park restrooms.