Hoteliers cry foul over Queenstown council rating plan

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The influential Tourism Industry Association has slammed the Queenstown council’s proposed visitor recovery rating scheme. 

Rachael Shadbolt, who heads TIA’s hotels sector, says the scheme will unfairly penalise the commercial accommodation sector. 

“While TIA is not opposed to the use of targeted rates if they are re-invested into the visitor industry, the hotels will bear the brunt of this Queenstown Lakes District Council proposal,” Shadbolt says. 

According to TIA calculations, most hotels would face an average rates increase of nearly 12 per cent, TIA states. 

For a 250-room hotel, that’s an increase of about $25,000 and for an 85-room hotel it would be about $15,000.
Penny Clark, TIA’s Queenstown hotel sector chair, says hotels will either have to pass on the increase to customers or reduce services. 

“In targeting hotels, the council does not seem to realise that visitors spend just a small portion of their money on accommodation. 

“They spend much more in local cafes, shops, restaurants, supermarkets, petrol stations and on outdoor activities in the region.” 

TIA also claims that owners of many apartments and holiday homes rented out to visitors won’t pay commercial rates under this plan. 

TIA is calling on QLDC to reconsider its plan and apportion rates across all businesses more fairly. 

TIA’s 20 Queenstown member hotels paid more than $1.7 million in rates last year.