Queensland is looking at introducing a European-style tourist tax as the sunshine state attempts to financially recuperate from the pandemic.
The government have formed the Tourism Industry Reference Panel, a team in charge of reigniting the sector which was devastated due to border restrictions during the past two years of Covid.
The panel have mapped out a 10-year plan that includes a tourist levy, which would likely be charged to nightly accommodation or entry to national parks – a move that could pump $44billion into QLD’s economy per year by 2032.
Queensland are looking at introducing a European-style tourist tax as the sunshine state looks to financially recuperate from the pandemic
Domestic tourism has returned to pre-pandemic levels, however international tourism remains 60 per cent lower than it was before Covid.
Areas like the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree National Park and Surfer’s Paradise are all tourist hotspots that could be impacted by the levy.
The money would go in part towards the maintenance of parks and other attractions.
Countries including France, Greece, Croatia, Italy and Indonesia all charge tourist taxes, that are paid in line with accommodation – one of the methods being considered by Queensland.
Areas like the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree National Park and Surfer’s Paradise are all tourist hotspots that could be impacted by the levy
‘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 says.
‘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 during the Covid‑19 recovery period.’
The report did however state that a statewide tax could not be successfully imposed and instead local councils be in charge of where to set the levy and how much to charge.
‘One model for the whole state is unlikely to work,’ the report reads.
‘Any mechanism needs to be flexible – able to be varied at the local council/destination level to suit local circumstances.’
The report did however state that a statewide tax could not be successfully imposed and instead local councils be in charge of where to set the levy and how much to charge
Tourist Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe said the move would help the state increase its tourism levels rather than just restore them.
‘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.’
Cairns Tourism are calling for a visitory levy of between ‘five and eight per cent’, which would be a stark increase on accommodation costs.