All travellers get hit with $12 levy to enter US

Tuesday 15 September


All travellers get hit with $12 levy to enter US


Australians travelling to America will have to pay a $12 entry fee upon arrival following a change in US law.  Under the new legislation Australians and other international visitors will be forced to pay the fee, which is
apparently to be used to fund US tourism promotion, publicity to make tourists aware of what rules they might face on arrival and improve security.  The levy is expected to be in place by September 30.


The US has faced a dramatic fall in visitor numbers since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, leading to major job losses in the tourism industry.  But The Travel Promotion Act has faced strong criticism from the international travel community.


Australian Federation of Travel Agents CEO Jayson Westbury said it was unfair for America to impose a tax on tourists who had chosen to visit their country, in order to fund the promotion of their country to people who haven't yet decided to travel to US.  "I'd hate to think that the Australian government would ever apply that rationale," he said. "If you think about it
they're taxing the people who are already rewarding it by visiting."


While he didn't think a $12 levy was enough to deter Australians from visiting the US, he was concerned that it may be the tip of the iceberg. "That's always the way with any tax that's introduced - often they start low," he said.  "It's going to give Australians a bad taste in their mouth when they arrive in the US."


Editors Comments: I'm still trying to get my head around this one.  The US is actually going to charge its foreign visitors and holidaymakers a levy to fund the promotional campaign to get other visitors to come to US.  Isn't this a bit like being fined for doing the right thing ?   Surely a promotional travel campaign of this kind is the responsibility of the country that wants you to go there, not the responsibility of the travellers who are going there!