President Trump! Two weeks till Leadership Summit and the holiday tax battle heats up

President Trump! Not something many thought possible several weeks ago, but now is the time to start thinking about the future of our sectors and what the issues and opportunities might be out of this election result. TTF is, as always, in the right place at the right time. We have a brave new world ahead of us in the Age of Trump and that’s why you need to make sure you reserve your spot at TTF Leadership Summit at Parliament House Canberra on 23 November – now less than two weeks away.

Leadership Summit is our industry’s best opportunity for an intimate dialogue with our political leaders. We will be joined throughout the day by Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten, Fiona Nash, Steven Ciobo, Anthony Albanese, Pauline Hanson, Jacqui Lambie, Derryn Hinch, Peter Whish-Wilson, and key players in media and industry. It’s shaping up as the event of the year so click the link and book your ticket.

I’ve been in Canberra quite a bit this week continuing our campaign to fight for a better deal on the backpacker tax and halt the proposed increase in the holiday tax – the Passenger Movement Charge – as part of the working holiday maker reform package. On Monday, TTF released a 1,000 person nationwide poll that shows three in five people do not support any increase in the Federal Government’s holiday tax and a clear majority of those polled believe that reducing the cost of travel to Australia should be a priority for the Government. The Federal Opposition’s support to oppose the increase in the holiday tax is certainly welcome news in our fight to stop our industry being treated as a ‘cash cow’. We’ve only got a couple of Parliamentary Sitting weeks left and we are working hard to achieve an outcome that gives industry certainty around the backpacker tax and makes the case why increasing the holiday tax is completely unnecessary.

Today’s latest overseas arrivals figures that show a record 8 million international visitors to Australia in the past 12 months only reinforces that increasing taxes and charges on our sector are completely unnecessary. The fact that overseas arrivals have increased more than 11 per cent in the past year shows that the current holiday tax is in fact a growth tax for the Federal Government’s coffers. I do note that numbers from the US are up 17.8 per cent. A Trump Whitehouse may encourage a few more US tourists to consider a fabulous summer holiday or a longer stay Down Under!
November is also an important milestone for the industry – the 20th anniversary of the single aviation market between Australia and New Zealand. TTF has marked the anniversary by calling for action on developing single border processing for both nations. The Single Aviation Market has created enormous economic opportunities and driven significant growth in travel between Australia and New Zealand. Yet today, 20 years after this major change, a journey of around three hours is still complicated by queues at the borders on both sides of the Tasman.

TTF has outlined a four-tier reform plan for trans-Tasman air travel that includes a uniform standard of border processing in Australia and New Zealand; pre-clearance of passengers at departure points in Australia and New Zealand, eliminating the need for most travellers to undergo quarantine inspections after trans-Tasman journeys; a new trans-Tasman visa for residents of specified nations, other than Australia and New Zealand, enabling them to enter either country, complete a single border screening process valid for both, then travel freely between the two; and digital technology to replace cards which departing and arriving passengers must complete, resulting in electronic transfer of information and shorter airport queues.

It’s certainly an exciting time for the industry. See you in Canberra for Leadership Summit as we tackle these great challenges head on.