As part of its objective to achieve a budgetary surplus, the Australian Government has announced that it will reduce inbound duty free tobacco allowances for travellers to Australia from 250 cigarettes to 50 cigarettes, starting September 2012.
Apart from the impact this will have on retailer revenue, ETRC is concerned about the enforcement of the new rule. “Thousands of Australia-bound passengers buy tobacco in European duty free shops every day. This has been part of their travel experience since commercial aviation began many years ago. Obviously, if this rule comes into force, duty free retailers will do their best to advise passengers accordingly, but from a legal perspective, shops in Europe will still have to sell to Australia-bound passengers who insist to buy,” said a statement from ETRC.
Frank O’Connell, President of ETRC, says, “This new rule will add to the frustration and confusion of tourists and travellers, hardly the sort of welcome Australia wants to give to its many millions of tourists.
“I also question the prospective revenue the Australian government expects to earn from this move. Deloitte have estimated the real increase to be a fraction of what the government have estimated and the additional cost of enforcement will further reduce any potential revenue gain."