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Visa benchmarking survey urgently needed to maintain tourism’s competitiveness

September 4, 2019 Business News No Comments Email Email

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) says a planned visa benchmarking study needs to commence urgently in order to identify areas where Australia has poor visa processing compared to its direct competitors.

The Morrison Government announced plans for a visa benchmarking study during the recent Federal Election but no details on timing or terms of reference have been outlined.

“The global economy is rapidly changing and it’s inevitable the impact will be felt by Australia’s tourism industry therefore it’s important we address any visa related processes that negatively impact our desirability as a destination,” ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley says.

“The visa benchmarking survey, a Coalition election promise, is a vital piece of analysis which will help build strategies that can address our global competitiveness and sandbag the industry against future downturns.

“The clock is ticking and our competitors are gaining greater market share over while we sit on our hands hoping the current system delivers.

“We are urging the Government to set the parameters and engage the process by the end of this year.”

In order to prove valuable, a visa benchmarking study needs to compare our Australian tourism visa policies against key competing destinations.  ATEC says the study must look at:

  • The content length of application forms
  • Language specific applications
  • Fees and costs including sourcing secondary documentation
  • Options for small group and family visas
  • Competitiveness of multiple entry visas
  • Processing efficiency
  • Approval timelines

“We have a visitor visa system which falls well behind best practice and we are constantly being outdone by countries like New Zealand and Canada who are much more nimble in moving to address systemic issues.

“In some markets Australia’s visa application criteria are antiquated and just aren’t appropriate for today’s sophisticated and affluent traveller. Requiring information on family bank accounts and family documentation for some tourist visas, particularly those from  markets like India where we see huge growth potential, is just not keeping up with the realities of contemporary travel.

“Visa policy creates a massive difference to our industry and the right visa policy can drive the right outcome for all of us – with good visa systems the tourism dollars will flow.”

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