The increase in the departure tax from$34 to $80 has caught a number of departing tourists unaware. Some were visibly upset when they were told to pay $80, more so when they were advised on board the plane that brought them last week that the departure tax was only $34. A family group have had to find well over $500 to pay the tax.
Tourists departing on today’s (Tuesday) flight say they do not question the right of the Niue Government to increase the departure tax, but the manner in which visitors were, more or less, left to find out on their own, “is absolutely deplorable and shows total incompetence by the government’s public relations and publicity people.”
For a number of visitors, it was not a question of not being able to pay, but having been told that the tax was only $34, they had tucked away a $50 note per person for that purpose. “We wanted to spend all our spare cash here on the island as a thank you for the lovely friendly people of this Niue. Well here we are at the airport, needing an extra $60 in cash that we don’t have. What a way to remember our holiday.”
The commodore of the Niue Yacht Club Keith Vial has confirmed that yachts intending to visit Niue had received prior warning of the impending increase in departure tax. There is every likelihood that the island will see a reduction in the number of visiting yachts by the end of the current cruise season.
UPDATE UPDATE – Unconfirmed reports indicate that the government has backed down from applying the new departure tax on today’s Air NZ flight to Auckland. The bad news is that it will apply to the flight departing on Friday 7th.