15 July 2008

Australian tourism board launches campaign to increase visitors

The Australian Capital Territory is set to benefit from a major push to promote the region to foreign travellers, which could boost the number of people looking for an Australian tourist visa. Tourism Australia will spend around AUD$90 million (£44.8 million) promoting the country overseas, while Canberra is hoping to benefit most from the campaign, reports the Canberra Times.

Part of the scheme involves the Federal Tourism Minister creating a new National Landscapes promotion designed to entice international visitors to 1.6 million hectares of protected parks in Australia. This will add to the plans to draw more Australian tourist visa applicants to the ACT's Snowy Mountains, or Australian Alps as they have been dubbed.

Mr Ferguson told the newspaper: "In 2007, total visitor expenditure in the ACT increased nearly 15 per cent, well above the 7.1 per cent increase for all visitor expenditure in Australia." He added the key market for the campaign would be Australian tourist visa holders who are "experience seekers" looking for new adventures and destinations, in addition to sampling the local culture.

Experts say the Australian tourism industry is taking a different direction now, and is being shaped by travel blogs and social networking sites, with hotels and hostels taking tips from the comments and opinions being put online. Tourism Australia's new promotional tactic will utilise the internet's capacity to reach previously untapped markets, which could amount to hundreds of thousands of young potential travellers around the world.

An ETA visa is required for all short-term visitors travelling to Australia. Visa Bureau's automated application process means that in most cases, they can be granted in seconds.

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