16 March 2012

Working holiday visa surge provides boost for Queensland tourism

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A recent surge in the number of young Europeans travelling to Queensland on a working holiday visa has provided a much needed boost the state's tourism industry.

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Backpackers are providing a much needed boost to Queensland's tourism industry.

After several debilitating natural disasters combined with a strengthening Australian dollar, Queensland's tourism industry has suffered in recent months. However, recent numbers of young British, Irish, French and German travellers to the region on an Australian working holiday visa make the future look much brighter.

Both British and Irish travellers marked a respectable increase in Australian visa applications for working holidays, up to 16,000 and 8,000 respectively, French applications increased by 4% but the number of German applications jumped a remarkable 10%.

Australia's popularity within Germany is on the rise, says Tourism Australia, with 25% of Germans in Australia on working visas applying to stay for an additional year.

"It is the number 1 dream destination for youth in that part of the world," said Tourism Queensland director Jane Nicholson.

Tourism is one of Australia's largest sources of income but has suffered in recent years due to the booming mining industry forcing the value of the Australian dollar up. A low exchange rate for the pound and the euro has meant that the traditional sources of travellers for Australia have chosen to go elsewhere to get more for their money recently.

Queensland's tourism industry has particularly suffered after several natural disasters, particularly floods, affected the region.

However, relaxed visa restrictions and the stabilisation of the economies in Europe have meant that the number of backpackers making the trip Down Under is once again on the rise.

"Backpackers are the bread and butter, the meat and potatoes, of the tourist trade," said Ms Nicholson.

"They go everywhere, they try anything, come here longer and spend more money."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge their applications with the Australian Embassy.

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