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Australians could be charged to visit national parks in Queensland under plan to boost tourism

Why Australians could soon be forced to pay tourist taxes to visit national parks and some of the country’s most popular attractions

  • Queensland government is considering charging visitors to key attractions
  • Guessing whether visitors should pay for places like national parks
  • The money would go to the maintenance and management of the nature reserves

Travelers may soon have to pay to visit some of Queensland’s most popular attractions.

Under a new plan proposed by the Queensland Tourism Industry Reference Panel, tourists and locals would have to pay a levy or tourist tax for places such as national parks.

It is one of 75 recommendations that hopes to position ‘Queensland as Australia’s favorite destination’ in the tourism industry by the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

“We can’t expect the state government to do all the heavy lifting as we grow the visitor economy,” the report said.

“If we give destinations, or local governments, the ability to apply a targeted tourist tax, they can raise money to support and grow the visitor economy.”

Under a new plan proposed by the Queensland Tourism Industry Reference Panel, tourists and locals would have to pay a levy or tourist tax for places such as national parks (pictured Springbrook National Park, Gold Coast)

Under a new plan proposed by the Queensland Tourism Industry Reference Panel, tourists and locals would have to pay a levy or tourist tax for places such as national parks (pictured Springbrook National Park, Gold Coast)

The plan has been submitted to 'position Queensland as Australia's preferred destination' in the tourism industry by the 2032 Brisbane Olympics (pictured in the Gold Coast)

The plan has been submitted to ‘position Queensland as Australia’s preferred destination’ in the tourism industry by the 2032 Brisbane Olympics (pictured in the Gold Coast)

The ‘user pays’ fees were also discussed, with 100 percent of the money going to the management and maintenance of nature reserves.

The report states that it is up to the specific municipalities to introduce the charges.

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Queensland Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport Stirling Hinchliffe said $66 million had been set aside to boost the tourism industry over the next three years.

“Some of the recommendations are ambitious and need further consideration and consultation with the tourism industry,” he said.

“It sets ambitious targets because Queensland must have guts to achieve long-term success, or risk being left behind.”

Tourist levies exist in places around the world and are already commonplace in other Australian states.

The Great Barrier Reef has a visitor fee.

The move could mean that Queenslanders will have to pay for a walk through their local national park.

Tourist taxes exist in places around the world and in other Aussie states, such as in the Great Barrier Reef

Tourist taxes exist in places around the world and in other Aussie states, such as in the Great Barrier Reef

Robbie Bastion, a veteran of the industry in Cairns, said he supported the idea of ​​introducing a tax on tourist attractions.

“A tourist tax is not a mythical beast… the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, the Surf Coast in Victoria and Broome all have a tax to subsidize their tourism efforts,” he said.

“Not only does it increase their efforts in a financial way, it frees their thinking, their innovation by using their community’s money for the good of all.”

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