15 August 2008

Pope thanks Australia for hospitality at WYD

The pope has thanked Australia for its hospitality during the recent World Youth Day saying he received an "affectionate reception". Pope Benedict has written to the Australian Government, saying: "I was honoured by the official welcoming ceremony at Government House and most appreciative of the personal welcome which you extended", CathNews reports.

He visited the country for the religious event, which was held last month and brought thousands of people to the country. Ahead of the event it was predicted it would create $231 million for the city of Sydney, due to the money the Australian visa holders would spend while in the country, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Pope Benedict particularly praised the residents and business people of Sydney whose "spirit of collaboration helped to ensure the warm welcome of the pilgrims". Australian visa holders from over 170 countries attended the religious event with over 500 million people expected to have watched it live on television.

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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