The International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) programme ensures tourism continues to benefit communities, visitors and the environment, helping to create productive, sustainable and inclusive tourism growth that enriches New Zealanders’ lives.

The investment pillars of the programme are to:

  • help restore and protect New Zealand’s landscapes and species
  • improve environmental resilience and manage visitor impacts on the natural environment;
  • improve New Zealand’s tourism system.

The IVL programme has faced major challenges in its first year of operation given the significant impact of COVID-19 on revenue collected. Despite this, the programme has delivered against its priorities in a funding-constrained environment.

Collection of the IVL commenced in July 2019, payable by most people* who intend to enter New Zealand on a temporary basis. Inbound travellers can pay for the IVL at the same time as applying for a visa or an electronic travel authority (ETA). The levy is currently set at $35.

This report outlines the performance and status of the 10 initial IVL projects – 6 in the conservation portfolio and 4 in the tourism portfolio that were funded in the first year of the IVL programme (1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020).

* Australians, some Pacific Island citizens and residents, and some other visa holders do not pay.

What is the IVL?

The IVL programme is a series of targeted, prioritised investment decisions made jointly by the Ministers of Tourism, Conservation and Finance (joint IVL Ministers). It is not a contestable fund. An IVL Advisory Group also helps to guide and shape the areas for investment in alignment with Ministerial priorities. They provide focus, leadership and expertise to guide the IVL to where it will make the most impact. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) provide advice to joint Ministers that is aligned with the long-term objectives and funding priorities set by Ministers. The agencies also provide project oversight, reporting, compliance and monitoring.

The investment priorities for the IVL are also guided by the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy, Te Mana o te Taiao – the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2020, the DOC Heritage and Visitor Strategy, which informed the priorities for the second conservation investment pillar, as well as various other key frameworks that reflect government objectives for conservation and tourism. These priorities target areas of cultural and historic significance, the restoration and protection of New Zealand’s unique biodiversity, upgrades to existing tourism destinations, and transformational technologies.