Business Events Council Australia (BECA) has warned that a proposed 17% increase in the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) will affect Australia’s competitiveness in the Asia region.
Introduced in this year’s federal budget, the departure tax increase has been met by travel industry opposition. A key element of the PMC bill, indexation to the rate of inflation, was dropped last week thanks to lobbying by industry groups, including BECA.
Speaking to The Nibbler last week, BECA Executive Manager Inge Garofani welcomed the change, but expressed concerns that the tax hike will deter inbound business travel to Australia.
“Business events travellers are still choosing their destinations and any increase in costs is going to have an impact on numbers moving,” Garofani said.
The government insists the $8 addition to the outbound tax is modest, representing less than half a per cent on a typical international airfare.
Garofani conceded that business travel will be less affected than leisure travel, but added “anything we can do to keep prices low has to be a good thing”.
Noting that business events is often left out of the funding equation, Garofani warned that the tax hike could see Asia nudge ahead of Australia in the competitive field.
“Unfortunately [Australian business events] don’t do too well in the funding stakes [while] our Asian neighbours have an understanding of business events and dedicated funding to draw meetings,” she said. “We don’t have that on a national level – though it would be lovely if we did.”
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