A new Queensland tourism tax in the form of visitor taxes or levies to create additional funding streams for the tourism sector has been touted by an expert industry panel.
The Queensland Tourism Industry Reference Panel made 75 recommendations in its report that is aimed at positioning the state as a top tourism destination ahead of the Brisbane Olympics in 2032.
The State budget has already put aside $66 million over the next three years to invest in the report’s recommendations.
“We need to seriously consider new mechanisms to garner additional funding,” the QTIRP report stated.
“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 enhancement levy, they can raise money to support and grow the visitor economy.”
Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Brett Fraser said a visitor levy is not an uncommon method of raising funds to “improve the visitor experience”.
“What would be a travesty would be if this type of system was implemented and just replaces funding that is already there,” he told The Courier Mail.
“It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario, so the big question is what the appropriate mechanism should be.”
Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the proposal “will need further consideration” while Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan welcomed “further discussion”.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chair Ken Chapman said it was vital to fund further destination marketing.
“Increasing destination funding will require a different funding model,” he said.