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Aussie Holiday Tax Rebate Plan

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A proposal currently being put to the Federal government would see Australians get a tax rebate for taking holidays within their own country.

Bill Calderwood, chairman of Tropical North Queensland Tourism, is responsible for the plan and says that the No Leave No Life campaign - which encourages Australians to use their annual leave on domestic holidays - is not having a great effect and a tax benefit would inspire Australians to travel and holiday locally.

Australia struggles with convincing workers to reduce their leave entitlement which has a detrimental effect on the nation’s economy. Add to this a recent decline in domestic holiday activity and the future of the local tourism industry appears shaky.

The proposal would see the dual benefit of not only reducing the number of paid leave days on employer’s books, but also supporting the domestic tourism industry.

Under the proposal, people would get a retrospective rebate on airfares and accommodation booked within Australia come tax time.

Mr Calderwood said similar tax incentives had been offered for school uniforms and first home buyers.

"I think what would have a great effect, providing people with an incentive to take a domestic holiday, it's very hard to change deep rooted behavioural habits of people by using a media campaign that's intermittent.”

"I think we need to use a whole series of different devices which are going to help people understand more effectively the benefits of taking a holiday.

"I believe it would have far more success at persuading people to take a domestic holiday.''

Mr Calderwood said for the first time more Australians were taking overseas holidays than there were international visitors coming to our country.

He said "We need to help the tourism industry and regional Australia, tourism employs around half a million people around Australia. It makes sense to encourage people to take domestic holidays. It's important for capital cities as well as regional communities.''

The federal government used the stimulus package to help the country through the Global Financial Crisis, it was reported that many Australians used the payments to take holidays at New Zealand ski resorts.

The latest Tourism & Transport Forum-MasterCard Tourism Industry sentiment survey shows declines in local tourism activity and expectations.

TTF managing director Christopher Brown said that greater government support was needed for the domestic tourism industry.

He said "Industry is putting its money where its mouth is and backing Tourism Australia's There's Nothing Like Australia campaign, but the agency's funding has declined in real terms in recent years.”

Michael Palmer

Photo: Supplied

Date: 22/07/2010

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