Domestic tourism is in melt down. Particularly in regional areas outside of the cities, where small communities who are reliant on the tourism industry. Domestic tourism in Australia has steadily declined while outbound visitor numbers have achieved spectacular growth.
The Whitsundays Tourism industry has developed a proposal to take to the Federal Government with the backing of the rest of Australia’s tourism regions.
The proposal is for $2,000 in domestic travel to be a tax deduction for every tax payer, every year. The items for consideration are:
The proposal has already received the backing of Dawson MP George Christensen. Mr Christensen says 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.
The deduction would extend to all accommodation including hotels, charter boats and caravans.
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.
With the carbon tax now in place, he said the struggling tourism industry needed a helping hand.
"The tourism industry is struggling around the country," he said.
"We have seen other export industries offered compensation for this toxic tax but tourism has received nothing to help them compete with overseas options."
Ferry company Cruise Whitsundays has estimated it will pay $770,000 over three years with the increased diesel cost the carbon tax will bring. Mr. Christensen said he would work on investigating how much the proposal would hit the bottom line of the budget.
"If you had a tax deduction that would lead to growth and demand in tourism expenditure resulting in increased revenue. 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." he said.
President of the Whitsunday Bareboat Operators Association Trevor Rees, who was one of the first to come up with the idea, said he believed the proposal could be more than revenue-neutral. Mr Rees said the proposal was a way of benefiting all of Australia instead of giving out hand-outs to particular sectors and regions. "This is not some parochial thing where we're sitting here in the Whitsundays asking for more money," he said.
"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."
In a move of solidarity the proposal is being supported by Yacht Charter Operators Sunsail, Charter Yachts Australia, Whitsunday Escape, Cumberland Charter Yachts, Queensland Yacht Charters & Whitsunday Rent a Yacht.
Read more about the proposal and how you can help.