A National Government will ensure international visitors pay more to experience our world-famous Great Walks, providing more funding for conservation initiatives.
“The nine Great Walks are among New Zealand’s most popular visitor attractions, but they run at a $1 million annual loss,” , conservation spokeswoman Maggie Barry says.
“We believe it’s fair that international visitors who experience our Great Walks pay a little more to enjoy our landscape and contribute to protecting our native wildlife.”
From October 2018, international visitors will pay double the fee on the five most popular Great Walks (Milford, Routeburn, Kepler, Abel Tasman and Tongariro), and 50 per cent extra for the other Great Walks and backcountry hut passes.
“There are no changes for New Zealanders – hut charges for Great Walks will stay at their current low levels,” Ms Barry says
“New charges will also apply to the under-construction Paparoa Track and the two new Great Walks planned as part of Budget 2017’s $76 million investment in conservation.
“National will also close a loophole which has seen international school parties book out huts without paying, by introducing a charge for teenagers and children from overseas.”
These changes will generate more than $4 million a year in extra revenue, all of which will be allocated to Department of Conservation (DOC) programmes.
“The extra revenue will ensure the Great Walks continue to be a world-class experience for visitors and New Zealanders – and provide additional resources to protect native species like the kea, kiwi and kokako,” Ms Barry says.
“Together with today’s announcement of an additional $5.4 million a year for community conservation programmes, National is showing its commitment to supporting community groups and DOC continue to protect out natural environment.”