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Government allocates $48 million for tourism industry

In a surprise announcement, the Australian government has reversed a decision to increase passenger tax and has also created a AU$48.5 million (£31 million) Tourism Industry Regional Development fund to help build new tourist attractions and community projects.
20 June 2012
The government had initially planned to increase the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) to AU$55 (£36) per passenger as part of a yearly increase which would reflect inflation.

However, after considerable lobbying from the tourism industry, who claim business is already hampered by a strong Australian dollar and several natural disasters, the industry would be significantly damaged by an annual increase.

Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson announced the policy's reversal today, citing bipartisanship as a welcome influence on the decision.

Mr Ferguson also announced that the money raised from the existing PMC will be used to create a AU$48.5 million fund which will be used to attract new tourists, support community projects and contribute to new tourist attractions.

Tourism and Transport Forum Chief Executive John Lee said the government's decision to reverse the tax represented a substantial success for Australia's tourism industry.

"We are pleased that we have been able to convince the coalition and the Greens of the damage a yearly increase would have caused to the tourism industry, especially to regional leisure destinations, and we welcome the proposal to redirect more PMC revenue to regional tourism," said Mr Lee.

"This will see over AU$40 million [£26 million] allocated to help boost regional tourism through projects such as the development of key tourism infrastructure and experiences in regional areas."

Chief Executive of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council Daniel Gschwind echoed Mr Lee's comments and said the decision was a victory for regional Australia working together.

"This decision proves to the industry that by working together as a united voice we are able to achieve positive outcomes," said Mr Gschwind.

To take advantage of Australia's growing tourism industry, you'll need an Australian Travel Visa. The most popular of these is the ETA Visa, because it can be easily and quickly applied for online.