09 July 2009

Australian icon Uluru to be closed to tourists

The Uluru climb, one of Australia's iconic tourist activities, is almost certain to be closed in about two years.

Australia's Uluru

Climbing Australia's icon Uluru is expected to be forbidden to tourists in two years. Tourists to Australia must have an Australian tourist visa.

Each year around 350,000 people visit Uluru, 440 kilometres south of Alice Springs. A third of them climb the 347-metre monolith despite the traditional owners urging visitors to make do with just looking at the giant sandstone rock.

Parks Australia has called for public comment on a plan to ban tourists, the plan runs for 10 years but Parks Australia head Peter Cochrane have given strong hints that Uluru could be closed to climbers by 2012

The comment period closes in early September and a final document will be sent to the Federal Government, which controls the national park.

Mr Cochrane said the tourism industry would then be given at least 12 months to adjust their marketing campaigns.

That means Uluru could be closed by October 1 in 2011, the start of the hot summer season in the Northern Territory.

Mr Cochrane said there were three main reasons for banning climbers: safety, environmental damage and culture.

Some 35 people have died climbing Uluru in the 25 years to the year 2000, but none have died since climbing restrictions were introduced.

The sandstone rock suffers erosion and human rubbish is washed down into waterholes by rain, and the traditional owners are offended by people climbing over something they consider sacred.

To visit Uluru, British passport holders must have an Australian travel visa.
THe most common Australian travel visa is the Short-Stay Tourist Visa, or ETA.

ETA visas are processed instantly and are electronically linked to your passport.
Your Australian ETA travel visa will be verified automatically when you check-in for your flight to Australia.

Click here to apply online for your Australian ETA Tourist Visa.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with Australian travel visas

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