09 January 2009

Australian Tourism braces for 2009

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The Australian tourism industry is bracing itself for a rough 2009, with an expected decline in the number of international visitors due to the shrinking global economy.

According to the Australian Tourism Forecasting Committee (TFC), the value of incoming tourism to Australia will fall to $24 billion AUD in 2009, representing a decline of more than 3.5% over last year.  The global financial decline is having an effect on Australia's traditional sources of tourists - the UK, United States, New Zealand and Asia, meaning fewer travellers into Australia, and fewer tourist dollars spent.

However, the picture is not entirely bleak.  The tourism industry is involved in several initiates that could help alleviate some of the financial pain.  Among them, a new initiative between Tourism Australia and the Dubai-based Emirates airline to promote Australia as a rejuvenation experience,  taking advantage of the release of Baz Luhrmann's epic film Australia.

Also of note, the tourism industry is taking advantage of Australia's relative proximity to Antarctica, with the icy continent becoming an attraction in its own right.  Isolated Mawson's Hut at Commonwealth Bay has seen a marked increase in the number of visitors from Australia, with arrivals coming by boat.  Australian flag carrier Qantas also offers Antarctic tourist flights, in conjunction with Croydon Travel.  Curious travellers can fly over Antarctica in a Qantas 747 from Sydney or Melbourne.

Travellers to Australia can apply online for an Australian Travel Visa with the Australian Visa Bureau.

Article by Editorial Staff, Australian Visa Bureau.

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