AFTA View – June 2012
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Why AFTA joined the industry protest against the PMC tax hike
By Jay Westbury, chief executive Australian Federation
of Travel Agents
I AM sure that those of you who continue to hold IATA accreditation will, like me, have welcomed the news that Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce is the newly elected chairman of IATA’s Board of Governors.
This is significant as the last Qantas CEO to hold this position was James Strong in 1999-2000 and with a number of significant global resolutions on the table for the passenger agency program and BSP, we might find it helpful to have a fellow countryman in charge.
AFTA continues to hold a seat on the global council which works towards resolving issues with the program.
More locally, you may have also picked up on the campaign that AFTA and several other travel and tourism organisations undertook in response to the Gillard Government’s increases in the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) tax.
At the time of writing, the outcome was not known, but equally important is the fact that the travel and tourism industry got together to mount such a targeted objection to the proposed increase in the tax which is slated to increase with CPI each year.
This is a tax that nobody in the travel industry would welcome as it puts the cost of outbound travel up each year without any regard for all the other price pressures that the industry faces year on year. Not to mention the increases in costs that will have to flow from the introduction of the carbon tax and the fact that the Gillard Government is looking to recoup the costs of providing federal police at airports.
As I have said many times before, there is only one source of income – that is the consumer. And when the government without any regard for the commercial reality of the situation simply puts a tax up or introduces a new tax, then everyone has to adjust their costs accordingly. Meanwhile, the cost of travel goes up and the consumer has to pay.
That is why the campaign was so aggressive and regardless of the outcome we must continue to make the point about how unwelcome government tax slugs on tourism are.
To end with some good news, AFTA has had a strong financial year and our annual report which is available on the AFTA website outlines just how strong the federation is. We continue to live within our means, build membership, and do the policy and lobbying work necessary to effect change.
I can also report the re-election of all directors whose terms were due for renewal – this also builds on the strong unity of purpose that the AFTA board has enjoyed for some time.
• The 2012 National Travel Induatry Awards will be the biggest attended event in our history as we celebrate 55 years in 2012.
There are several special presentations planned for the event and while we have a large wait list which we regret, NTIA 2012 is once again shaping up to be huge.
We have a special treat planned for those attending and fans of The Voice will know what I mean on the night.
I look forward to seeing so many of you from the travel industry at the Westin Sydney next month.
Jay Westbury’s AFTA View column appears monthly.