14 December 2009

Working holiday visa changes recommended to boost Australian tourism

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Research into strategies to boost working holiday tourism in Australia has made key recommendations to the Australian Government including the introduction of a new short-term working holiday for students.

The Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC) research found that international students in Australia were a large market, and one that could be further tapped with a new short-term working holiday visa for international students once they have completed their studies.

International students already make up a larger proportion of visitors than backpackers, and this visa would allow greater ease for them to continue a further short-term stay in Australia and take working holidays.

Other recommendations from the working holiday research include proposed changes to conditions of this Australian Visa including the ability to extend the visa and a reduction in required working hours, the development of technology centres for “techpackers”, new high-energy adrenalin experiences and expansion of healthy lifestyle opportunities in regional centres.

A dominating trend discovered by the research was the option of travelling to experience intense physical adrenalin experiences such as skydiving, bungee jumping, skiing, rafting, diving, surfing and trekking. The top five countries listed as delivering such experiences were New Zealand (42%), Australia (36%), Africa (4%), Canada (3%) and South America (2%).

The strategies presented in the report present the opportunity for Australia to further build its competitiveness in the international backpacker tourism market. 

The research involved extensive consultation with national and international stakeholders and input from more than 1500 backpackers holidaying in Australia.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian Visa applications with the Australian High Commission.  

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