InsureandGo survey shows Aussies back ‘tourist tax’

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Controversial new “tourist taxes” are taking off across the world and a new poll suggests a strong majority of Australians back the levies, even as the taxes jack up the price of travel.

Insurance provider InsureandGo surveyed more than 1000 Australians and found more than 60 per cent backed higher taxes on travellers, both at home and abroad, as a means to keep travel “sustainable”.

“Tourist taxes are a relatively new concept but as travel demand swells, we are seeing more countries adopt the levy,” InsureandGo chief commercial officer Jonathan Etkind said.

“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.”

Concerns about tourism’s impact on the environment sits at the heart of the findings.

Younger Australians aged between 18 and 30 are particularly eager to see travellers taxed to mitigate the impact, with a whopping 73 per cent backing a tax slug.

Millions of Australian travellers will experience the new levies following the introduction of a $15 tax on foreigners visiting the Indonesian island of Bali from 2024.

The tax is designed to help the Balinese government preserve the island’s delicate culture and ecosystem from the crush of tourists who visit it.

It is paid out immediately on arrival at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar.

Other star tourist spots, such as Venice and Amsterdam in Europe, also impose tourist taxes.

Amsterdam boasts Europe’s highest tax rate, with the former 7 per cent levy rising to 12.5 per cent this year, which works out to be an additional $36 a night on an average room of $289.

New Zealand charges international visitors a $32 levy to mitigate the challenges created by tourism on conservation areas.

Tourism taxes are usually paid indirectly through accommodation providers, holiday companies or visas.

A strong majority of Australians also back new taxes at home, the survey suggests, with six out of 10 respondents registering their support for an Australian tourism levy.

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