Australia's 13 casinos have said the govenrment should prioritise Australia visa applications from wealthy gamblers.
02 April 2012
Casinos push for Australia visa to attract Asian gamblers
An association representing the country's 13 casinos has urged the government to relax its Australia visa restrictions in order to attract more Chinese gamblers to visit.
The Australian Casino Association has requested Australia visa processing for Chinese high rollers to be prioritised by immigration and customs officials.
The Association claims that the estimated 30 million Chinese 'premium' gamblers combined with the AU$4.6 billion (£3 billion) currently being invested in facilities and upgrades could benefit the Australian economy.
The Australian tourism industry has been working hard to attract more newly wealthy Chinese tourists looking to travel abroad for the first time by beginning marketing campaigns in mainland China.
Chinese tourists have been shown to spend more on holiday than any other nationality yet the Australian Casino Association claims their visits could be worth even more if China's growing contingent of keen gamblers can visit Australia easily.
The Association has called for multi-visit visas with longer durations of stay for Chinese tourists as well as more Australian consulates in mainland China, an online application system and faster, 'clear and transparent' processing by Australian immigration officials.
A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the government already offered "streamlined processing arrangements for high rollers".
"Wherever possible, the Immgiration Department offers streamlined processing to low-risk clients, including independent travellers and also group travellers from China through a special scehem arranged with teh People's Republic [of China]," said the spokesperson.
"More than two-thirds of visas granted to gaming visitors from mainland China are valid for 12 months."
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australia visa application with the Australian High Commission.