Visitors To Queensland May End Up Paying Extra Under Bold Plan To Tax Attractions
A "visitor tax"
Tourists to Queensland would have to pax taxes on some of the state’s hot destinations under a proposal to generate revenue for the tourism sector.
The plan from Queensland Tourism Industry Reference Panel (QTIRP) would allow local councils or tourism bodies to impose visitor taxes to acquire additional funds.
It is also suggested a “user pays” system to generate revenue for natural assets including national parks.
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Already, visitors pay a levy when visiting the Great Barrier Reef, however the money collected goes towards preserving the World Heritage Listed site, opposed to a way of collecting additional funds.
The proposal was one of 75 recommendations in QTIRP’s report aiming “to position Queensland as Australia’s destination of choice for domestic and global visitors seeking the world’s best tourism experiences by 2032.”
The report found that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Queensland has been losing market share, but is able to capitalise on borders reopening and when it hosts the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.
If Queensland restores its market share, it would be worth an extra $12 billion annually by 2032.
But the report also said that the government cannot rely on its own measures to generate funds and need to consider other alternatives, like the visitor tax.
“If we give destinations, or local governments, the option to apply a focused tourism enhancement levy, they can raise money to support and grow the visitor economy,” the report found.
“We should also consider the application of ‘user pays’ fees and charges in circumstances where funds raised can contribute directly to the management of visitor impacts, maintenance and regeneration of natural assets thereby enhancing the overall experience for visitors.”
The report does not provide information on how levies or taxes would be imposed which the council’s CEO Brett Fraser said would be the challenge.
“A consumer-pays principle is not that uncommon around the world, and it has been shown that people are prepared to pay, if they can see that the fee is going to improve the visitor experience,” he said.
“What would be a travesty would be if this type of system was implemented and just replaces funding that is already there.
“It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario, so the big question is what the appropriate mechanism should be.”
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