Pitch to Make Camping and Caravanning a Tax Deduction

Pitch to Make Camping and Caravanning a Tax Deduction
People gather for a holiday break at the caravan park on December 29, 2020 in Mallacoota, Australia. (Diego Fedele/Getty Images)

Caravanning and camping has been a blessing for Australia’s pandemic-ravaged tourism sector, but there’s a call to make it even more appealing in the form of a tax deduction.

As the federal government’s JobKeeper subsidy trickles to a stop, Caravan Industry Association of Australia spokesman Stuart Lamont has called for more support measures.

Rather than travel vouchers, he suggested personal tax deductions for things like accommodation and tours.

“The government is only forgoing the opportunity of a tax-take, while people are going out and spending money in the community, and that money rolls around many times, particularly in regional communities,” he said.

“Some sort of incentive in that way, which is tax-related as opposed to just a handout for those people who want to go away on holidays, is a more sustainable model to investigate.”

Caravan and camping accounted for 44 percent of all holiday nights and were the most popular choice during the September quarter, according to Tourism Research Australia.

But not all areas have felt the benefit due to domestic border closures.

“The nervousness of people to travel long distances for fear of not being able to get back to their home,” is the problem highlighted by Lamont.

He said Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Western Australia traditionally attract substantial numbers of international visitors, who have been absent during the coronavirus, and that those places had also been hit hard by domestic travel restrictions.

Among other proposals to support the tourism industry, are concessional loans for tourism operators, repaid once they return to profit, and access to advisory services to pivot to new markets.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called for an extension of support for hard-hit industries such as tourism.

“Perhaps Scott Morrison and the federal government could look at those industries that are doing it tough, and maybe JobKeeper, it does need to be extended for those industries,” she said this week.

“We know other industries have bounced back after COVID and some industries are doing a lot better than others, but we do know that the tourism industry is hurting, especially those regions which relied heavily on international travellers.”

Nick Gibbs in Brisbane