Story Bridge BrisbaneThe Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) and the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) have welcomed the Senate’s commitment to freeze any future increases in the holiday tax – the Passenger Movement Charge – for the next five years and described it as a compromise that will provide the tourism industry with certainty over the medium-term.

“TTF and AFTA has been very vocal in our opposition to increasing the Federal Government’s holiday tax – the Passenger Movement Charge – on Australians and international visitors. While any tax increase is disappointing we now have certainty and a freeze for five years on the holiday tax,” said TTF CEO, Margy Osmond.

“The holiday tax is a AUD$1 billion charge on the tourism industry and it is growing at 5 per cent a year. There was absolutely no economic justification for this tax hike. We provided the Senate inquiry into the legislation with a KPMG economic analysis that made it very clear that the Government did not need to increase the holiday tax to fund its backpacker tax package.

“We acknowledge and thank Shadow Tourism Minister Anthony Albanese and Federal Labor for showing their support for the tourism sector by opposing the increase in the holiday tax.

“The support of Senator Lambie, Senator Leyonhjelm and the Greens’ Senators in opposing the holiday tax hike is greatly appreciated by the industry.

“While the tourism industry is bitterly disappointed with the holiday tax hike we do appreciate that Senator Hanson and her team have secured a commitment from the Government for a legislative freeze on any future increases for the next five years.

“If we are serious about tourism as a super-growth sector for the Australian economy we should be reducing taxes and charges not increasing them. Politicians of all stripes can expect the tourism industry to be a ferocious opponent to any further plans to increase the cost of travel to Australia,” Osmond said.

AFTA CEO, Jayson Westbury, said that the travel and tourism industry has demonstrated to political leaders that the sector is willing to fight anti-tourism measures and will not stand for being treated as a ‘cash cow’.

“A freeze on the holiday tax at $60 is the second best outcome we were hoping for but it nevertheless will provide the travel and tourism industry with certainty that there should not be any surprise holiday tax hikes on Budget night over the next five years,” he said.

“We call on all political parties to acknowledge and honour the commitment that has been made today to implement a five year freeze on any future increases in the holiday tax.”

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management