The provisional results of the Queenstown Lakes District Council's local visitor levy referendum show 81.37 per cent of respondents are in support.
The 41.45 per cent return was also ''significantly higher than anticipated'', mayor Jim Boult says.
Voting for the non-binding referendum closed on Wednesday - the result remains provisional until a final count is completed on June 10, however, Boult said it was unlikely to change significantly.
The result meant the council would now seek Government support for a legislation change to enable a 5 per cent levy on all short-term accommodation in the district.
Boult said the referendum result ''unequivocally'' sent a ''definitive message'' from the community to the Government.
"The support shown for the proposed visitor levy says this is something that locals recognise is desperately needed.
"I am delighted that our community was motivated to vote on this issue.
"I would like to personally thank everyone who has taken the time to engage with and participate in the process.
He acknowledged, however, there would be some within the accommodation sector not happy with the outcome.
"I have closely heeded every counter to this proposal to ensure that we had not overlooked anything and whilst I respect there were opposing views I did not hear or see anything that swayed my view and clearly that was the case for the majority of our community.
"I think we all came to the collective conclusion that having exhausted all our options this was where the opportunity lay.
''The stakes are high for Queenstown Lakes, for ratepayers and for the massive contribution our district makes to the national economy through tourism.
"I am absolutely delighted with the outcome," said Mayor Boult.
The council would now ''seek a dialogue'' with the government on the next steps - there was no timeframe for that at present.
- Otago Daily Times