A tourism leader says a change in visitor strategy outlined by the Government is long overdue.
Tourism Export Council chief executive Judy Chen said the draft opened for consultation today was a much-needed change in direction from purely increasing visitor numbers to something more suited to managing the high number of visitors the country now gets.
''Our members have been saying for some time that our tourism policy settings were no longer fit for purpose for the tourism environment we now operate in.''
Close to 3.8 million visitors came to New Zealand in the past year and this had put pressure on some communities, especially at peak times of the year.
As part of the strategy Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said the strategy proposed a more co-ordinated and active role for the Government in tourism.
The Government wants new areas of cross-agency work and aims to ensure those who benefit from infrastructure contribute to its costs.
This is needed to make sure growth is productive, sustainable and inclusive and to help support the regions.
Chen said done well, this strategy would ''set out the framework and direction for the next chapter in New Zealand's tourism story".
The Government plans to share money raised from a new $35 visitor levy between conservation and tourism infrastructure projects.
Chen said tourism has grown faster than many communities can cope with and this has put unplanned strain on local infrastructure, with the locals often the ones paying for new carparks or public toilets through their rates.
The existing Tourism Infrastructure Fund goes some way to addressing those needs and her organisation wants to see this fund phased out when the new levy is introduced mid next year.
She warned that the extra $35 levy for visitors - aside from those from Australia and the Pacific Islands - would be another cost.
''We are already a relatively expensive country to visit and becoming more so when you consider other factors like increasing petrol prices. Visitors are not immune to these increases when you think about them filling their rental cars or motorhomes, or even through increased tour charges as operators try to recoup some of these costs."
Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said he was pleased to see that the Government was seeking the same outcomes from tourism in New Zealand as the industry.
The strategy release comes before an updated version of TIA's Tourism 2025 is released at the Tourism Summit Aotearoa later this week.