Hospitality operators in New Zealand have slammed government proposals to introduce a bed tax to help fund a new rugby stadium in Auckland ahead of the 2011 World Cup.
In a survey of 500 members of the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA), an overwhelming 97% said they were opposed to the plans.
"TIA and the wider tourism industry are in full support of the Rugby World Cup 2011 and look forward to the event being a huge success. But the funding lines for a stadium should not be from bed taxes and departure taxes," said TIA chief executive Fiona Luhrs.
"The strength of feeling in the tourism industry on this issue is clear and affirms that TIA is correct in arguing against visitor taxes to fund this facility."
Almost all the respondents (99%) wanted a mix of government funding, local government rates, commercial investment and sponsorships to fund the construction.
More than three quarters (77%) warned that a visitor tax would mean visitors would spend less and stay for shorter periods.
There was also widespread concern that imposing visitor taxes to pay for facilities that would not be used by those visitors was setting a dangerous precedent.
Tourism is New Zealand's single largest export sector and contributed $NZ8.1b (£2.8b) to the economy in the year ended March 2004. Domestic tourism contributes $NZ9.4b (£3.3b) to the economy each year
By Daniel Thomas