New Zealand proposed the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy last year and the country's legislature has just given approval for the new tourist tax to take effect starting July 1 of this year.

The NZ$35 (approximately US$23) fee is to be paid concurrently with the visitor's visa fee or Electronic Travel Authority fee. Travelers from around the world will all be subject to New Zealand's new tourist tax, with the exception of visitors from neighboring Australia and many Pacific island countries.

New Zealand is implementing the new tourist tax as a way for visitors to contribute directly to the protection of New Zealand's natural environment as well as the infrastructure they use when they are in New Zealand.

In case you didn't know, New Zealand has become increasingly popular as a destination for tourists from around the world. According to data from Tourism New Zealand, the beautiful country in Oceania welcomed a 4% increase in international arrivals last year.

The New Zealand government expects to raise more than NZ$450 million (about US$300 million) over five years. The funds raised through the new tourist tax will allow the New Zealand government to fund projects ensuring that the country and its people enjoy the best from tourism growth.

Denise Bay is a staff writer at Email: