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Friday 24 June 2022

Queensland mulls a tax on visitors

Queensland. Beautiful one day. Dumb the next.

The Australian state is considering whether to impose new taxes on tourists.

The Queensland Tourism Industry Reference Panel has proposed introducing visitor taxes for local attractions within the state.

“The idea of a visitor levy is not new. It has been modelled, canvassed and debated for the best part of a decade,” the panel’s report noted.

“While we appreciate that views are polarised as to whether it is an appropriate way to raise funding, everyone we spoke with saw a greater need than ever for increased funding.”

Money raised by the proposed new tax would be pumped back into the sector to maintain state-operated tourist attractions and national parks, as well as for marketing.

“We don’t just want to build back to where we were, we want to see the industry grow,” Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe said.

“We have very different destinations that have very different needs.”

A statewide levy ‘would not work’ the panel said, and it instead suggests local authorities should be able to set a visitor tax.

“Any mechanism needs to be flexible - able to be varied at the local council/destination level to suit local circumstances.”

Kevin Byrne of the Cairns Tourism Industry Association said: "I think an accommodation levy, a visitor levy of 5-8% in the first couple of years, would be appropriate.” 

Well Kevin, let me tell you that will the cost of living rising across Australia, there are lots of tourists who will opt for destinations where they are not being price gouged.

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