In a major show of support for Australia's tourism industry the Australian Government today confirms that the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) on travellers will be frozen for the full term of the current Parliament.
The Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP, who is the federal Cabinet minister responsible for tourism, will outline the commitment while chairing a meeting of Australia's tourism ministers in Canberra this morning.
In one of the many new and increased taxes under the previous Labor government the PMC was twice jacked up without warning by a total of 45 per cent, which hit tourists travelling to Australia with an extra tax burden.
Australia's tourism industry is one of our country's great strengths. It is our largest services export industry, with international visitor consumption of $26 billion which represented more than 8 per cent of total Australian exports in 2011-12.
"The previous government saw the PMC and increases to tourist visa charges as an easy way to raise revenue, with no consideration to its undermining effect on the competitiveness of our tourism sector," Mr Robb said.
"On top of this Labor's carbon tax reduced hotel profitability and pushed up the cost of airfares. These tax burdens have made it more expensive to come to Australia and made international competitors comparatively cheaper.
"Freezing the PMC will make Australia a more competitive tourist destination for international travellers which will help to grow the Australian industry. It will also help the industry to reach the Tourism 2020 potential of doubling overnight visitor expenditure to between $115 billion and $140 billion by 2020."
Enacting this policy will not affect the Asia Marketing Fund or the Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund, which will continue to provide funding to strengthen the Australian tourism industry. The budgets for these programs will be unaffected by freezing the PMC.
"By freezing the PMC at its current level for the full term of this government and by getting rid of the carbon tax we are sending a clear signal that this Australian Government greatly values the tourism industry and is determined to do all we reasonably can to make it more competitive not less," Mr Robb said.
"These measures, along with working with the tourism sector to reduce the regulatory burden it faces, will provide certainty and create an operating environment conducive to new investment and growth. Tourism is a critical component of my focus to increase export income, attract more international investment, create more jobs and strengthen Australia's prosperity.
"Tourism operates in a global marketplace and we are determined to demonstrate to the world that we are very much open for business," Mr Robb said.
- Trade and Investment Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555