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.