Gavin Faull Gavin Faull

Taxing tourism like ‘beating our best cow’

Piling additional taxes on tourism, the number one industry in the country, is like ‘beating our best cow’, according to a speaker and delegate at the Maximum Occupancy Conference in Auckland this week.

Gavin Faull, chairman and president Swiss-Belhotel International and Zest Hotels International concurred with most attendees at the conference that the accommodation sector is riding a high. That said, Faull and others see challenges from local bodies who regard targeted rates and new taxes as a way to boost their coffers. He says a fairer way to support local bodies would be for central government to hand over some of the GST take. ‘That could ease the competition for tax take. Local bodies have a tax issue despite the growth in property values. And these (targeted) taxes are always costly to get (administer) and often messy.’ Faull also spoke out in support of immigration, especially in terms of its positive effect on the tourism industry. ‘Jobs are an international market now. You can’t just keep your employment market to yourself.’