08 August 2008

Australian tourism minister holding talks with Japan

Martin Ferguson, the Australian Tourism Minister, is in Japan this week to discuss tourism opportunities with Japanese travel agents, reports Travel Blackboard.

The Minister will be focusing on increasing the profile of the "Australian experience" in Japan, and will be holding talks with the Japanese Association of Travel Agents (JATA) in Tokyo to outline current initiatives. 

"The past decade has seen a decline in the number of Japanese tourists coming to Australia and this visit is an important step in raising awareness of the work being done by the Australian Government and the Australian tourism industry to better meet the changing Japanese market," he said.

Despite this, in 2007 more than 500,000 Japanese tourists applied for an Australian travel visa and injected AUD$1.6 million into the Australian economy.  JATA also recently awarded Australia a key destination on its “Visit the World” campaign.

Mr Ferguson will also be discussing options with Japanese airlines to ensure travellers have easy and competitively priced access to Australia.

"These measures will reinforce Australia as a first-choice tourism destination and reflect our commitment to the tourism industry and our friends in Japan," he added.

"Providing tourists to Australia a higher quality experience and better value for money will increase Australia's competitiveness as a tourist destination."

As Japan is part of Australia’s Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) programme, Japanese passport holders can enter Australia on a travel visa and stay for up to three months.  The ETA is considered the most streamlined and efficient travel authorisation system in the world, meaning Japanese tourists can in most cases be granted a travel visa instantaneously.

Conditions of the visa do not allow visitors to Australia to work in the country during their stay, and are given up to 12 months after the date of approval to enter the country.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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