Queensland’s peak body for tourism has grave concerns for the future of the tourism industry following the Gillard government’s Carbon Tax announcement on Sunday.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) said there has been little or no recognition of the likely impact the tax will have on the tourism industry.
QTIC chief executiveDaniel Gschwindsaid while it was impossible to gauge the exact bottom-line impact on the industry at this stage, it would certainly not be positive.
“The Gillard Government’s Carbon Tax proposal will increase the cost of doing business for many industries, including tourism, through the direct and indirect impact on energy costs,” Gschwind said.
“The international competiveness of Australian tourism and hospitality services will be negatively affected, a further blow to businesses already feeling the strong Australian dollar which is seeing domestic travellers choosing cheaper overseas holidays instead of holidaying locally.
“While domestic airfares will be driven up by the tax, international fares will not. And consumers with higher incomes, and thus a greater propensity to travel, will feel more of an impact on their hip pockets thanks to the price on carbon,” he said.
Gschwind said while the tourism industry was fully committed to a sustainable economy, the positive impact of the carbon tax on the environment, and tourist destinations like the Barrier Reef, was questionable.
“The tourism sector in Queensland has long recognised that a clean environment is a core asset to our industry. We have been making a significant investment, at a cost to businesses, to develop and implement sustainable practices for several years now.
“For the tourism industry in Queensland a further concern for operators is how the new carbon pricing will affect consumer confidence, with any uncertainty translating into less spending on discretionary items like holiday.
“The proposed carbon tax will create a very challenging and costly business environment that our industry now needs to navigate, with the benefits being only a minimal reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.
“Unlike other export-oriented industries including coal and other resource industries, tourism will not receive any compensation in the proposed package, which means the forgotten sectors like tourism will suffer as we shoulder a greater burden.”
Gschwind also said the Carbon Tax announcement would only compound the suffering of an industry still recovering from the floods and cyclones that ravaged the state earlier this year.
QTIC has in excess of 3,000 regional members, operating in all sectors of the tourism industry.