11 July 2008

Pressure on Australian airports to be more like the EU

Australian airports are being pressured to relax immigration requirements for visitors from New Zealand, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, so Australia can maximise from its largest source of tourism.

The Newcastle Airport is submitting part of an aviation review to the Australian Government.  The report recommends the Government reforms its customs, immigration, and quarantine requirements so that New Zealand flights to Australia become treated as a part of Australia’s domestic aviation industry. 

The recommendation is based on the European Union’s successful strategy, which provides relaxed processing regulations for EU travellers flying between EU countries.  The submission from the Newcastle Airport argues that such a move would improve Australia’s image as an international tourist destination.

The recommendation has been supported by Canberra Airport, Air New Zealand, and the Tourism and Transport Forum. 

New Zealand visitors to Australia are already exempt from applying for an Australian Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).  The ETA visa allows overseas travellers to visit the country for up to three months.  Travellers from most countries must apply for an ETA visa before landing in Australia.

New Zealand is still Australia’s biggest tourist market, with 1.1 million visitors landing on Australia’s shore last year.  British tourists comprised the second largest tourist market to Australia, with over 600,000 visitors applying for an Australia visa over the same period. 

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

Tourists to Australia can apply online for an Australian tourist visa.


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