Queensland government mulls tourism tax

If you’re popping over to Queensland for a nice getaway you could soon be copping a bit more than just the price of accommodation and flights.

A panel of experts have suggested a new tourism tax to be introduced by local councils when they were tasked with rebooting Queensland’s tourism sector following pandemic-induced border closures.

The panel estimated that with millions in funding, the QLD travel industry could be worth $44 billion a year to the state economy by 2032.

However, some have taken umbrage with this, such as John O’Shea from The Langham Gold Coast who told 9 News that the opening of the new Langham hotel had been delayed for years and now they’re hoping to catch up.

“We’ve had a lot of challenges, a pandemic, a war, supply chain issues,” O’Shea said.

Domestic tourism levels have reached 2019 levels in Queensland, but international tourism remains down by 60 per cent.

The QLD government said that the tax would contribute to the maintenance of state tourist attractions and national parks.

“We don’t just want to build back to where we were, we want to see the industry grow,” Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe said.

“We have very different destinations, that have very different needs.”

9 News reported that the tourist levy would be added as a small fee when entering some QLD national parks or on nightly accommodation bills.

These fees would be set by individual councils.

“I think an accommodation levy, a visitor levy of five to eight per cent in the first couple of years, would be appropriate,” Kevin Byrne from the Cairns Tourism Industry Association told 9 News.

Featured image: iStock/Caroline Brundle Bugge