Smashed globally but not locally thanks to Australia’s easy ride through the pandemic. The revenue down under of the foreign online hotel booking giants was barely dented. Booking.com again siphoned out more in dividends last year than it paid in tax. What’s the scam?
Pretending to be poor, and small, that’s the scam. Booking.com and Expedia dominate the short stay market in Australia, and last year they had a shocker globally, thanks to the pandemic. Revenue for Booking Holdings worldwide went from $US15 billion to $US 7 billion. But the second half boom in domestic travel here in Australia was a bright spot. Cashflow was up from $25 million to $27.4 million.
But that’s not actually Australian cashflow – the companies don’t even disclose that – instead calling it “support fees” from an offshore associate.
Still, they raked out $9.7 million in dividends over the past two years versus $5.5 million paid in income tax.
Michael West established michaelwest.com.au to focus on journalism of high public interest, particularly the rising power of corporations over democracy. Formerly a journalist and editor at Fairfax newspapers and a columnist at News Corp, West was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Social and Political Sciences.