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Two thirds of Australians back tourism taxes as travel’s environmental impact intensifies

Should Australia introduce a tourism tax to help preserve its natural environment?

Just weeks after Bali introduced a new tourism tax, a new survey from award-winning travel insurance provider InsureandGo, reveals that almost two-thirds (63 percent) of Aussies support countries introducing the tax to combat the rising environmental toll visitors take.

The survey, which follows a growing number of nations implementing taxes to fund cultural and environmental protection, also reveals that 60 percent of respondents want Australia to introduce its own tourism tax, with 63 percent of NSW residents particularly supporting the levy.

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The findings were taken from a survey of an independent panel of 1006 Australians commissioned by InsureandGo, which sought to gauge how residents feel about rising tourism taxes – particularly amid increased sustainability concerns.

The research also found that younger Australians, aged between 18 and 30, are the most eco-conscious travellers, with a whopping 73 percent saying yes to tourism taxes.

Bali implemented the tax recently in February, with all arrivals now required to pay 15 AUD (150,000 IDR) before arrival. The popular Indonesian beach destination joins a growing cohort of countries imposing the tax, including Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The European city has the highest tourism tax across the continent – with the former seven percent hotel tourist levy rising to 12.5 percent this year. That equates to an additional $36 a night on the average room rate of $289.

Closer to home, New Zealand charges international visitors a 32.64 AUD levy (35 NZD) to address current challenges created by tourism in its conservation areas.  Tourism taxes are usually indirectly paid through accommodation providers, holiday companies or visas.  

InsureandGo found that more than half (52 percent) of Aussies were happy to pay the tourist taxes at the current rates, however a smaller 11 percent of all respondents said they would gladly pay higher levies.

Older Australians least in favour of a tourist levy

While the survey shows the nation’s youngest cohort (18 to 30) largely support the tourist tax, just over half (55 percent) of respondents aged 50 and over are happy to pay levies at the current rate or more. Millennials and Gen Z respondents aged between 31 and 50 are more enthusiastic with 67 percent saying they would pay a tariff.

InsureandGo Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Etkind says younger Aussies are typically more aware of the environmental impacts of travel, while older Australians are perhaps less accustomed to the tax.

He says: “Tourist taxes are a relatively new concept, but as travel demand swells, we are seeing more countries adopt the levy. For younger Australian travellers, it’s increasingly commonplace, but for Australians aged over 50, it’s a new levy that they seem to be taking time to embrace.

“What’s heartening, however, is that only a minority of 37 percent of respondents don’t support tourism taxes, demonstrating just how many Australians support the concept of sustainable travel.”

Aussies from visitor hot spots most in favour of tourist tax at home and abroad

While six out of 10 respondents say yes to an Australian tourism levy, residents from NSW and South Australia were among the highest at 63 percent and 61 percent respectively. 

Respondents from NSW were the most in favour of paying a tourist tax abroad, with a whopping 66 percent supporting overseas levies at the current or an even higher rate.

In other states, Queenslanders and South Australians are tied for second place, with 62 percent in favour of the taxes. Following closely behind are Western Australians, with 61 percent and Victorians, with 60 percent in favour. 

Jonathan says: “NSW receives the lion’s share of short-term arrivals each year,  while in South Australia, international and domestic visitor expenditure rose an impressive three percent over the 12 months leading up to September last year. 

“It’s not surprising that residents from those states feel the impact of visitors on their precious natural resources and why they feel moved to protect them.”

For a tax at home, 63 percent of NSW residents say yes, compared with 59 percent of Victorians, 57 percent of Queenslanders, 61 percent of South Australians and 56 percent of West Australians.

Question

Total

Ages

States

Would you like to see more countries introduce tourism taxes to help them manage negative environmental impacts by tourism?

 

18-30s 

31-50s 

Over-50s 

NSW

VIC

QLD 

SA 

WA

Yes, at the rates mentioned above 

52%

58%

54%

47%

53%

49%

53%

51%

51%

Yes, even at costlier rates 

11%

16%

13%

8%

13%

11%

9%

11%

11%

No, even at the rates mentioned above 

37%

27%

33%

45%

34%

40%

38%

38%

39%

 

Question

Total

Age

States

Should Australia introduce a tourism tax to help preserve our natural environment?

 

18-30s 

31-50s 

Over-50s 

NSW

VIC

QLD 

SA 

WA

Yes

60%

60%

62%

59%

63%

59%

57%

61%

56%

No 

40%

40%

38%

41%

37%

41%

43%

39%

44%

 

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