A UNITED Nations tourism chief has welcomed the Gillard Government's compromise over hiking the departure tax as he attacked bureaucrats plundering travel revenue without helping the industry.
Taleb Rifai congratulated the Australian tourism industry for successfully lobbying the government to set up a regional tourism stimulus fund with 10 per cent of the $610 million take over the next four years from increasing the tax.
"Unbalanced taxes, taxes that represent extortion of the market, are of great concern to us,'' the secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation told a Melbourne conference.
He contrasted the Gillard Government's forced compromise with the British Government's "unreasonable'' departure tax increase and other tourism taxes in Germany and Austria, which the UN was wary could harm tourism.
Last month - under pressure from the tourism industry, the Green and Independents - the Federal Government also agreed to cancel yearly indexation of the $8 increase in may's Budget which lifted the charge from $47 to $55.