05 February 2009

Australian backpacker expo expecting big turnout

Organisers of the Adventure Travel and Backpackers Expo are expecting a solid crowd of interested young travellers to attend the exhibition in Melbourne, reports Travelmole.

The Expo gives young travellers the opportunity to talk with over 150 travel experts about planning their big OE, plus listen to free talks and secure great deals through tourism operators.

Director Andrew Paltridge has high hopes that this year would see identical numbers to the this year's event that attended last year, even in these times of economic trouble.

"Our recent expo in Sydney in November saw a double digit increase in visitor numbers which indicates that the adventure/youth market is still looking to travel in good numbers," Paltridge said.

"We also have had recent comments from those companies in our Work and Travel area that UK-based recruiters are still seeking skilled Aussies to work, and some still have places to fill."

In related news, figures from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship show that despite the economic recession in the UK, the government has granted 21 per cent more Australian working visas in January 2009 than in the same period last year.  In addition, over 20,000 Australian working holiday visas were granted to British citizens between July and December 2008, which is three thousand more than the same period the year before.

"Tourism Australia has been investing in the promotion of the visa for 12 months now, so it is encouraging to see more Brits are heading to Australia to experience the Aussie lifestyle for an extended period on the back of our marketing campaign," said Tourism Australia general manager UK/Europe Rodney Harrex.

"Whether you want to pick fruit in a country area or pull beers in a city pub, the Working Holiday Visa is a great way to meet people and use the money you earn to travel extensively throughout the country."

Under this visa type, 18 to 30 year old nationals from participating countries can work in Australia for 12 months.  Holders of this visa have the option of extending it for 12 months if they work in a specified horticultural region of Australia in a specified industry for three months or more. 

Eligible applicants must be able to pass health and character assessments, have a valid passport for the duration of their stay in Australia and prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves once landed in the country. 

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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