Industry furore over PMC hikes

Industry furore over PMC hikes
By admin

Industry bodies have welcomed the federal budget’s investment of Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) dividends in the marketing of Australia, but have warned increasing the charge will harm the country’s international appeal.
Tourism minister Martin Ferguson yesterday revealed Tourism Australia would receive an initial $61 million over four years to promote Australia to growing markets in Asia. The funding will be backed by PMC revenues, forecast to total $3.7 billion over the four year period.
Tourism Australia chairman Geoff Dixon said the cash injection underscored the growing importance of Asia, which is expected to deliver 2.5 million visitors this year.
“With this new dedicated fund, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to further drive both existing campaign activity and new marketing efforts across our fastest growing and most valuable inbound markets,” he said.
But while the marketing boost was generally well received, an $8 hike to the PMC, levied on travellers when they depart Australia, came under attack.
The Australian Tourism Export Council branded the rising tax a “disincentive for travel and local expenditure by international visitors”.
Managing director Felicia Mariani highlighted numerous pressures already faced by the industry and described the expanding levy as yet another “significant burden”.
Meanwhile, the Tourism and Transport Forum questioned the budget’s reduction of funding for customs and its recovery of airport policing costs from airports, despite rising PMC revenues.
“While passenger facilitation is an essential part of  national security, it is also a critical experience for international visitors,” chief executive John Lee said.
“We will be saying to our overseas guests, ‘Welcome to Australia, please queue up over there for an hour while we decide if you can come in’.”
Lee also questioned the addition of GST to tourism products, which he claimed “reduces the competitiveness” of Australia.

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