Calling Australia's A$55 tax on international travelers "economically destructive and totally counter-productive,” David Scowsill, President & CEO, of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) urged the Australian government to reduce the tax burden on airline passengers to promote job creation and economic prosperity
Speaking in Sydney, Scowsill called on whichever party wins the election on September 7 to reconsider the amount which it takes from air travelers in the form of the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC).
“Australia’s PMC is among the most regressive in the world of Travel & Tourism”, Scowsill said. “It bears no relation to distance covered, so cannot be considered environmentally legitimate. Neither is the revenue income put back into aviation infrastructure, so it cannot be considered as contributing to the growth of the industry in any way. Instead, it is a general tax that simply discourages Travel & Tourism from Australia.”
The WTTC said Australia’s passenger movement charge (PMC) was introduced in 1995 and, like Air Passenger Duty in the United Kingdom, has risen on many occasions to stand currently at A$55 for every international passenger.
“Australia is an island trading nation which relies upon air links for its economic prosperity. Taxing air travel naturally switches off demand from both business and leisure travelers alike. Air taxes, such as the PMC, are economically destructive and totally counter-productive," Scowsill said.
Scowsill also made the comparison with Australia’s other sectors: “The country’s mining sector has traditionally been the key focus by Government, which contributes 13 percent of Australia’s GDP. Yet Travel & Tourism contributes overall a comparable 10 percent of GDP , but does yet is treated like a second-class citizen. It is time that Travel & Tourism was an equal partner in the economic development of Australia”.
WTTC noted that in 2012 Travel & Tourism accounted for 260 million jobs globally. At US$6.6 trillion (9% of GDP) the sector is a key driver for investment and economic growth.