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Online move for Chinese visitor visas hailed as victory

March 20, 2015 Destination Global, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59A move to permanent online visa applications for Chinese and Indian visitors by the end of this year is a win for industry and will be a significant step forward in visa reform, the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) has declared.

Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb announced yesterday that all Chinese and Indian visitors would be able to lodge their visa applications online by the end of this year.

Robb also announced a similar trial of all remaining countries still required to lodge paper applications.

This announcement follows strong lobbying by the Australian inbound tourism industry and advocacy by the TTF, which last year published Visitor Visa Reform: Reducing Barriers to Travel.

“TTF has been campaigning strongly for the government to bring down one of the most significant red tape barriers for visitation from China and we welcome this announcement,” TTF chief executive, Margy Osmond, said.

“This is a significant step forward from the government in making Australia’s visitor visa system easier, quicker and more affordable.

“Chinese visitors to Australia spend the most of all international visitors to Australia and their visitation is helping to drive economic growth and jobs creation.

“While Australia has experienced strong visitation and expenditure growth from China, other competitor destinations like the United States and Canada have even higher rates of growth. These destinations have highly competitive visa systems, with the US now offering Chinese visitors 10-year multiple entry visas.

“Australia must continue reforming our visa regime to stay ahead. Making visa application forms available for lodgement online will cut down on much of the hassle involved in coming to Australia, but we shouldn’t stop there.

“Visitor visas for Chinese still cost a minimum of AUD 130, making them almost seven times more expensive than visas for visitors from Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and the US.

“Visitors eligible to apply for the electronic travel authority (ETA) visas apply online, pay only AUD 20 and receive an immediate response.

“Australia must continue to eliminate barriers to visitation from our key markets so we can capture the enormous growth potential of the visitor economy.”

Edited by : Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Good move to introduce ESTA for Chines and Indian Tourists.
    The US Visa Waiver Scheme (ESTA) has been working well since it was introduced in 2008.

    I suggest the Australian Government uses the USA Visa Waiver questionnaire as its template.
    Turnaround time is as little as 4 hours, and the Waiver applies to multiple visits for a period of 2 years.

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