The idea of a business levy to prop up an expected downturn in domestic tourism has been floated on the Coffs Coast.
The idea of a business levy to prop up an expected downturn in domestic tourism has been floated on the Coffs Coast. Northern Star

Business levy to save tourism

TOURISM industry stakeholders on the Coffs Coast are believed to be considering the idea of a levy on businesses to help the region defy an expected national downturn in domestic tourism during the next 12 months.

The idea of a 'user pays' industry fund would prop up the city's existing tourism budget, funding larger marketing campaigns and improving local infrastructure attracting tourists.

The levy suggestion comes as industry leaders discuss the prospect of leaner holiday periods.

Tourism industry reports indicate that more Australian families are holidaying abroad.

Cheaper international airfares are reportedly luring the traditional domestic traveller overseas. The statewide Tourism Forecasting Committee claims that domestically the tourism industry could record its worst year since the '90s.

Councillor Jenny Bonfield, chair of the Coffs Harbour Council's tourism committee, says the idea of a levy is only in its infancy and would require a large vote of support to go ahead.

“It certainly is a brilliant idea and would be very supportive of local tourism industry in terms of generating exposure, but of course it would require 70 per cent of businesses to be in support before it could be formally presented to the Minister,” Cr Bonfield said.

Tourism Association Chairman George Cecato said he was not in a position to offer any formal comment but: “I will be in a better position to do so in two weeks,” he said.

“I will say though tourism is for everybody's business. Everbody benefits directly and indirectly.”

Latest Tourism research suggests that the statewide industry will lose more than $2.5- billion, which traditionally has been spent on meals, accommodation, tours and attractions.

Just as alarming for the industry is that Queensland accommodation providers are cornering the domestic market, offering subsidised holiday packages as cheap as $1.

Chief Executive of the Pet Porpoise Pool Paige Sinclair says it's this sort of competition that's created the need for a combined industry approach.

“Not too many operators in Coffs have had a great year. There are also a lot of underlying reasons why people would holiday elsewhere,” Paige said.



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