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Cruise passengers with international passports heading for New Zealand will have to apply for a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority from 1 October this year.

But the good news is Australian citizens are exempt.

From 1 October 2019, all air and cruise ship travellers from 60 visa waiver countries, will be required to hold a NZeTA prior to entering New Zealand, regardless of whether NZ is their final destination.

The NZeTA will cost between NZ$9 and NZ$12.

In addition, tourists and cruise passengers arriving in NZ will have to pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) of NZ$35. This new ruling came into effect on 1 July this year.

Australian citizens and permanent residents are exempt from paying the IVL.

“The NZeTA will bring New Zealand’s border control into line with international best practices, with the United States, Canada and Australia already having electronic travel authorities and will enable Immigration New Zealand to screen travellers for border and immigration risks before they arrive at the border.

“Australian citizens will be exempt from requiring an NZeTA. The NZeTA will be mandatory for all other visa-waiver travellers and Australian residents to hold an NZeTA when travelling to New Zealand from 1 October 2019,” says Nick Aldous, Immigration New Zealand’s Policy Director

According to NZ Foreign Affairs and Trade website, “the number of visitors to New Zealand has grown strongly over the past few years and growth is expected to continue. The IVL is your contribution to maintaining the facilities and natural environment you will use and enjoy during your stay.”

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) does not expect any significant impact on cruisers’ decision to travel to NZ.

“CLIA and its member cruise lines have consulted with New Zealand authorities on the implementation of the new NZeTA system and have helped advise travel agents in Australia and New Zealand on its requirements for cruise passengers.

“The system is similar to other schemes in operation in countries such as Australia and the United States, and we don’t anticipate any impact on travellers’ cruise decisions as a result. We encourage all travellers to New Zealand to familiarise themselves with the new requirements coming into effect 01 October.

“New Zealand Immigration is launching a global marketing campaign to raise awareness and has created a web page with further information, including for Australian citizens, Australian residents and other nationalities: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/about-visa/nzeta,” says CLIA’s managing director Joel Katz.

In 2018, the majority of Australian cruisers sailed within Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. New Zealand was a hot destination attracting 129,000 Australians last year – an increase of 28 per cent from the previous year according to a CLIA report.