LAST night’s Federal Budget will see overseas online travel agents such as Expedia & Booking.com required to pay GST when they sell Australian hotel rooms.
The measure aims to level the playing field in the digital age by “extending the goods and services tax to Australian hotel bookings made through offshore digital businesses, so they face the same tax treatment as Australian businesses,” according to the budget papers.
It’s estimated the move will raise $5 million annually, but will not apply to sales made before the implementation date of 01 Jul 2019, even if the guest stays at the hotel after that date.
Other budget measures included $45 million in regional tourism grants and $5.1 million more for Tourism Australia over the next four years.
TTF Australia also welcomed the government’s nation-wide investment in big ticket transport infrastructure projects, with ceo Margy Osmond saying the initiatives will “transform our cities and regions and improve the visitor experience”.
The budget provided $294 million to strengthen aviation, air cargo and international mail security, including enhanced security arrangements at 64 regional airports (see page 5).
MEANWHILE Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop also noted the provision of $50.3 million over four years to support the Dutch prosecution of those responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which was shot down in Jul 2014 while flying over eastern Ukraine.
And despite a statement last night from Minister for Trade, Tourism & Investment Steven Ciobo noting the $2.7 billion annual contribution of the cruise sector to the economy, the budget provides just $250,000 towards “enhancing cruise ship access to Sydney”.
See page 8 for AFTA ceo Jayson Westbury’s take on the budget.