Whitsundays leads Australia’s tourism industry in plea to Government to save domestic tourism in melt down – don’t hold your breath guys
Whitsundays Tourism has announced that it is leading all of Australia’s tourism industry in a plea to the Federal Government to save domestic tourism which it says in melt down, particularly in regional areas outside of the cities, where small communities are reliant on the tourism industry, with domestic tourism steadily declining, while outbound visitor numbers have achieved spectacular growth.
Their proposal is for a $2,000 domestic travel tax deduction for every tax payer, every year, with their items for consideration including:
§ This is a similar proposal to the $1,500 School Expenses tax deduction.
§ Qualifying expenses would be up to $2,000 on any accommodation spent in Australia only, including motels, hotels, campgrounds, charter boats, backpacker resorts and camper vans, with the tax payer retaining copy of invoices to make the claim.
§ The cost to the Australian taxpayers is not significant, with less money required than the funding given to the Motor Vehicle Industry and other packages such as the school tax concession where most of the money goes to overseas manufacturers.
The proposal has already received the backing of Dawson MP George Christensen, with Mr Christensen saying the plan would go a long way to helping a North Queensland tourism industry which has been ravaged by floods, cyclones and the high Australian dollar.
Mr Christensen took the proposal, which a number of tourism operators in the Whitsundays have been proposing for some time, to Federal Parliament in May and he said that with the carbon tax now in place, the struggling tourism industry needed a helping hand.
He said, “The tourism industry is struggling around the country”, and “We have seen other export industries offered compensation for this toxic tax but tourism has received nothing to help them compete with overseas options.”
QLD ferry company Cruise Whitsundays says it has estimated it will pay $770,000 over three years with the increased diesel cost through the carbon tax, with Mr Christensen saying he would work on investigating how much the proposal would hit the bottom line of the budget.”
He added, “If you had a tax deduction, that would lead to growth and demand in tourism expenditure resulting in increased revenue”, and, “This may not be the best solution but it appears to be at least a solution and the tourism industry needs anything it can get right now.”
President of the Whitsunday Bareboat Operators Association Trevor Rees, who was one initiators, said he believed the proposal could be more than revenue-neutral, with the proposal a way of benefiting all of Australia instead of giving out hand-outs to particular sectors and regions.
He added, ”This is not some parochial thing where we’re sitting here in the Whitsundays asking for more money,” “This would benefit all of Australia…..It would benefit the mum, dad and kids who holiday to the caravan park twice a year…..It’s not just for the rich.”
The proposal is also being supported by Yacht Charter Operators Sunsail, Charter Yachts Australia, Whitsunday Escape, Cumberland Charter Yachts, Queensland Yacht Charters & Whitsunday Rent a Yacht.
This a great initiative guys but don’t expect a positive response or even a response at all from this government or frankly any other government.
You may not know, but earlier this year at the ATEC Symposium on the Sunshine Coast, Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson rejected outright the very same or very similar proposal saying it was something he would neither consider, support or take to Government.
When asked if the government would consider a tax break for Australians taking their holidays in Australia, it appears that he may have made an error, judging by the delegates’ reaction, rejecting the proposal, replying that he would not take that to cabinet as Australians already received 17.5% leave loading every year. This attracted a noisy response from the delegates, with the suggestion being that he was incorrect.
Having said all that, congratulations on your initiative and I wish you every success in your plea.
Industry Insider Commentary and Opinion by John Alwyn-Jones, Global Travel Media Special Correspondent