The tourism industry is a little like a wheel in that every sector requires the support and ongoing success of others in order to continue spinning.

You know how it works, but here’s a quick example – international marketing attracts travellers, who contribute financially to local businesses, these funds are then put towards employing locals, contributing to the overall economy and launching additional marketing campaigns.

There’s obviously a lot more players involved (we see you Travel Agents), but that’s essentially the cycle of tourism.

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Remove one of those elements and suddenly the wheel will come to an abrupt halt as finances start to dissipate, jobs are lost and the overall economy suffers.

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So you can imagine the shared concern among tourism players today after seeing the new Federal Budget, which cuts right through the industry with new taxes and a massive reduction in funding.

Among the biggest concerns for small businesses and hoteliers is the new tax on foreign employees, which will see the the Australian government raise $1.2 billion over four years from these operators.

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According to the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), it is a “harsh impost”, particularly for the smaller companies, whose customers require them to employ foreign workers with specialised skills.

“Increases to taxes on employer needing staff to fill shortages not wanted by Australians, it is yet another blow to the industry.”

Jayson Westbury, AFTA Chief Executive

“If the government is serious about delivering jobs to Australians in the future, then the travel and tourism industry is ready to help, but clearly the government does not want to help the industry,” Westbury said.

Then there’s the massive $35 million cut to Tourism Australia’s budget over the next four years, which The Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) believes will handcuff the country’s tourism board at a crucial time when visitor economy is “is on the verge of becoming a jobs and wealth-generating juggernaut”.

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TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said instead of recognising the future benefits of the tourism sector, the government has stifled its growth and potentially even put people’s jobs at risk.

“The harsh reality is that we simply cannot grow the visitor economy to its full potential in the face of extraordinary competition from other markets when the budget of our primary marketing vehicle has been so drastically reduced.”

Margy Osmond, TTF Chief Executive

In more bad news, Australia will become the most expensive country in the world for visa applications, with the government extracting half a billion dollars from inbound visitors over the next eight years.

Don’t worry, it’s not all negative.

The government has promised to invest around $5.3 billion over the next decade in the construction of the Western Sydney Airport AND tourism operators in Queensland will receive $5 million to assist in recovery post-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Queensland’s government will also be provided with $3.5 million for tourism projects.

What are your thoughts on the new budget?