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'Tax Aussies holidaying overseas'

A PEAK tourism body wants to see Australians travelling overseas slapped with a departure tax and overseas visitors close to spared.

Accommodation Association of Australia has opposed the Federal Government's proposal for a passenger movement charge, a tax on overseas visitors when they leave the country.

The group says the "tourism tax" would have a detrimental effect on tourist numbers, room occupancy and tourism accommodation businesses.

"Since 2008, the number of outbound passengers has outstripped the number of inbound visitors and this is a gap that continues to widen," the AAA said in a submission to the government.

The association has called for a debate around increasing the passenger movement charge for Australians travelling overseas while reducing it for overseas visitors, who provide direct benefits to the tourism industry.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said the Federal Government was using the tourism industry like a "cash cow".

"We have a problem with the Federal Government increasing the (passenger movement charge) and causing further pain to the industry," he said.

Mr Gschwind said he was not aware of the AAA's stance on a different level of tax for Australian and overseas visitors and therefore was unable to comment.

Ahead of next week's tourism conference, DestinationQ, in Cairns, Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said she would be addressing the challenges posed to the industry.

"Since the election I have been listening to the issues of tourism operators and industry bodies across Queensland," she said.

"Many of them have expressed their concern about tourism related taxes."

Ms Stuckey would not be drawn on whether she supported the AAA's proposal or not.



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