This week’s budget delivered a blow for Australian holiday makers as Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ will increase the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) from $60 to $70 from July 2024.
The Cruise Lines International Association said the increase in the PMC by $10 was unreasonable considering Australia’s travel community was working at restoring international visitation and support the cruise recovery.
“This is yet another cost for Australian cruise fans and overseas visitors, creating a disincentive that affects countless Australian businesses like travel agents, tour operators and industry suppliers,” said Joel Katz, the Managing Director of CLIA Australasia.
CLIA has supported the position of other industry bodies including the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF), the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) and the Australian Airports Association (AAA) in opposing an increase to the PMC.
“Australia already charges international travellers some of the highest fees in the world, and this only makes things worse,” Mr Katz said.
“This is yet another cost for Australian cruise fans and overseas visitors, creating a disincentive that affects countless Australian businesses like travel agents, tour operators and industry suppliers.
“This increase will undermine the cruise industry’s efforts to revive its $5 billion-a-year contribution to the national economy and its ability to bring economic opportunities to communities around the country,” Mr Katz said.
Margy Osmond, the CEO of the Tourism and Transport Forum also slammed the ‘tourism tax’, saying it will dampen the tourism industry after it was decimated by the pandemic.
“This will make it even more difficult for tourism to bounce back, as cost-of-living pressures increase and as the industry rebuilds from the devastating impacts of the COVID pandemic,” Tourism and Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond said.
“It will also make it more expensive for international tourists to come to Australia, at a time when we’re desperately trying to attract more visitors, with Australia’s international tourism levels still below pre-COVID levels.”
The tax applied to every person leaving the country and the money generated goes towards biosecurity measures to protect Australia’s natural environment and core industries.
AFTA chief executive Dean Long said that “now is not the time for additional taxes” as travel remains 30 per cent below pre-Covid levels.
“Today’s decision to increase the PMC by 16% is extremely disappointing and will make it harder for Australians families to stay connected,” Mr Long said.
“We know that the PMC does reduce air capacity to Australia and with supply of air seat still tracking 30% to pre Covid levels this will slow down our recovery.”
AFTA says that the increase will cost the industry an extra $520M over the 5 years from 2022/23.