Travellers would be slugged a tourism tax/levy to visit some of Queensland’s most popular natural attractions under a new plan to attract more revenue to the sector.
A visitor tax is among 75 recommendations put forward by the Queensland Tourism Industry Reference Panel to generate revenue for the state's tourism sector.
The proposal suggests a ‘visitor pay’ model to boost the price to visit the prized natural assets - like national parks and the Great Barrier Reef.
The panel’s report notes the idea of a visitor levy is not new.
“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 states.
“The panel believes new funding sources are required but that one model for the whole state is unlikely to work. Any mechanism needs to be flexible – able to be varied at the local council/destination level to suit local circumstances.”
The panel reviewed various funding models in use around Australia and the world.
These options, and their application within Queensland, include:
• a Visitor levy – paid directly by visitors, most commonly through accommodation providers.
• an Industry levy (or differential rates) – paid by businesses participating in the visitor economy. Usually collected at the regional or local government level;
• fees and charges (or visitor management fees) – a wide range of user‑pays fees and charges applied at the point of sale to capture the value of an activity.
The report includes other recommendations: the government establish an Experience Development Fund, open to all industry participants on a contestable basis; better promote compelling reasons to study, in person, in Queensland; enhance aviation connectivity; develop sustainable, low‑impact tourism experiences; support regions to develop and implement a First Nations Tourism Action Plan, led by First Nations people.
Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe says $66.4 million is in the budget over three years to respond to the Tourism Industry Reference Panel’s Towards 2032 – Action Plan for Tourism Recovery report.
“The expert panel’s final action plan, released today, is a 10-year strategy for industry and government to reshape Queensland’s visitor economy,” Mr Hinchliffe says.
“It sets ambitious goals because Queensland needs to be bold to achieve long-term success, or risk being left behind.
“The tourism industry reference panel goes beyond pandemic recovery to create an industry-led blueprint for growth.
“Included in the panel’s findings are 75 recommendations to position Queensland as Australia’s destination of choice for domestic and global visitors seeking the world’s best tourism experiences by 2032.
“Some of the recommendations are ambitious and will need further consideration and consultation with the tourism industry.".
Image: Sunshine Coast Council