Long calls on Federal Budget to be kind to travel

Any hike of the Passenger Movement Charge may result in a slower recovery of the travel and tourism sectors, AFTA CEO Dean Long warns.

AUSTRALIAN travellers are paying some of the highest passenger charges in the world, AFTA CEO Dean Long believes, with the industry body’s chief calling on the Federal Government to resist raising any more fees associated with overseas travel.

Namely, Long stressed that the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) should not be viewed as an easy lever to generate extra revenue in the upcoming Federal Budget, labelling any desire to do so as risking the much-needed recovery of the Australian travel sector.

“Increasing the PMC in our period of recovery would be extremely damaging not simply to overall demand but also Australia’s competitiveness as a destination,” Long said.

“Since its introduction, the cost of the PMC is now 122% higher than in 1995 (now $60 per passenger) and is the second highest departure tax in the world after the United Kingdom’s Air Passenger Duty.

Long also made the point that the funds raised through the passenger tax, estimated to be around $1.2 billion in 2019, does no go to the facilitation of passengers or the processing of visas, making the fee’s value to the tourism and travel industries even more questionable.

“Australians and visitors pay at least twice through the highest visa fees in the world and increased airport charges, Long said, adding that according to IATA modelling, the PMC currently reduces passenger traffic to Australia by 4.2% a year.

The Federal Government will hand down its first Budget under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on 09 May.

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