Tourism peak bodies are calling on the Federal Government to freeze the $60 Passenger Movement Charge (PMC), saying an increase would be damaging to Australia’s tourism sector.
The heads of the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), and the Australian Airports Association (AAA) have written to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese ahead of this week’s Budget urging the Government not to raise the PMC for five years, having received “informal advice” of plans to increase the fee.
According to the peaks, the PMC, which is currently set at $60 per passenger and goes towards costs such as customs and immigration, is one of the highest departure taxes in the world and brought in more than $1.2 billion in revenue for the Government annually pre-COVID. The fee is added to departing international passengers’ airfares.
“The tourism industry was one of the hardest hit sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic, [and] although there are strong signs of recovery, we are still facing a number of challenges. These challenges include reinstating international visitation back to pre-pandemic levels and addressing the worker and skills shortage,” the peak bodies wrote.
“Further, many Australians are not able to travel due to the pressures of cost of living and we are aware that those who intend to travel are opting for cheaper holidays. By increasing the PMC, the government would be taxing the holidays of Australians. This is detrimental to travellers as they seek to holiday after the pandemic, as well as to our sector as we continue to rebuild.”
The Passenger Movement Charge was last increased from $55 per person to $60 per person in 2017, a move which Prime Minister Albanese had spoken against as Shadow Tourism Minister. No reason was given at the time for the increase.
“The increase in the Passenger Movement Charge has real consequences for tourism and will have jobs impacts in the tourism industry, which employs a million Australians, is Australia’s largest services export and has been nominated as one of Australia’s five super growth sectors,” he told Parliament in 2016.