This is a letter from one of our readers, who have decided to use an alias. (Paku).
Mahi, I think you and a lot of people will agree that this new departure tax (DT) may be the tipping point for tourists planning to visit Niue in the long term. It is not unusual for people to “switch” destination preferences based on “cost” and this new tax will influence that decision for many, including Niueans from NZ.
The only way to counter this would be for local tourism operators to reduce their rates to maintain Niue’s “edge” in the marketplace which can only mean – the government will fill their coffers at the expense of the local tourism industry.
On top of that, there was no “grace” period or sufficient time provided for people to prepare for the new DT. I would question the logic of how the government can demand people to pay the new DT retrospectively when it’s valid from the 1st July? They should only pay the old DT.
If the hike is intended to improve the airport infrastructure…etc, so what did they use the funds on, from the departure taxes charged in previous years? Or is this the first time they have realised oh… let’s put some funds into the maintenance and expansion of the infrastructure!
And how, how, how… did they arrive at $80 – did they just pluck it out of the thin air? No wait – I think I know… – “heads its $50, tails it’s $80…” – cool system isn’t it?
It’s such a silly and short-sighted move by government. There is no need for such a huge increase and it will come back and bite them in the ass! Mark my words…