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Tourism confidence reaches critical levels.

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Steven Ciobo MP Shadow Minister for Small Business, the Service Economy & Tourism

Wall-to-wall Labor Government's are damaging tourism confidence in Victoria as fuel prices reach record highs, according to a new survey released today.

The latest Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) survey of tourism operators reveal 60 per cent of respondents believe soaring fuel prices are their single biggest constraint for the May 2008 Quarter.

''Many tourist businesses are taking a double hit every time fuel prices increase, with prices affecting confidence and profitability, at a time when small business confidence is at record low levels since the Rudd Labor Government's election,'' Shadow Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo said.

''VTIC has called on the Federal Government to get serious about cutting fuel costs and help ease the pain on tourism operators.

"To make matters worse, the tourism industry is now shackled with nearly a billion dollars of Labor's new tourism taxes.

''High fuel costs and these new Labor taxes are hitting tourist businesses hard.''

The number of tourism businesses expecting a stronger performance over the next twelve months fell to its lowest level since the Bali Bombings in 2002.

''What will it take for the Rudd Labor Government to understand the importance of tourism and to do something about fuel prices?'' Mr Ciobo said.

''Despite record prices, the Federal Government is happy to sit back and watch businesses struggle, people lose their jobs, and consumers foot the bill.

''The VTIC survey shows just how rough the road is ahead for the tourism sector under the leadership of Kevin Rudd and his State Labor counterparts.

''Since the election of the Rudd Labor Government, we've seen survey after survey show business confidence has crashed in the space of six months as the Federal Government has done nothing to lower fuel prices, and made matters worse with almost $1 billion of new tourism taxes in the May Budget.

''Tourist businesses face tough times under Rudd Labor, with fuel prices reaching $1.70 this week. As a result, airlines are cutting back their flights and consumers are curbing spending due to the flow-on of fuel costs.

''We know jobs are already being axed due to record high fuel prices, but until the Federal Government takes leadership and steps up to the challenge, industry and consumers, unfortunately are going to have to ride out the storm.''