ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley, today welcomed the announcement of an extension to the online visitor visa pilot program, offering three-year, multiple entry visas for Chinese visitors.“This is a great move and something ATEC has been advocating for some time,” Mr Shelley said.
“Providing Chinese visitors with a multiple entry visa will certainly strengthen our position in the international tourism market and help Australian tourism compete in the face of streamlined visa processes for other destinations.
“The United States has led the charge in bringing down the barriers to enabling Chinese visitors, with a 10 year tourist and business visa and five year student and exchange visa, so we are pleased Australia is now in a strong competitive position.”
Mr Shelley said extending the length of visa validity from 12 to 36 months and providing multiple entry will help encourage more Chinese visitors to seek out an Australian holiday.
“China is our largest destination by both volume and yield and is expected to grow in value to upwards of $7 billion annually by 2020, so policy changes such as this are extremely valuable to our tourism economy and the Australian economy generally.
“Along with this excellent outcome needs to come strong growth in aviation capacity and ATEC also supports commercial partnerships that will help build the bridge between Australia and China.
“The recent air services agreement with China, which will triple seat capacity over the next 18 months, and the recently brokered Most Favoured Nation status are elements which will work together to strengthen Australia’s long term engagement with China.
“Creating pathways that deliver Chinese tourists to our regional areas and connecting to a breath of Chinese cities is crucial to our ability to maximise this opportunity and we congratulate Minister Robb for his vision and passion for industry growth.”