19 January 2009

Australia predicting strong growth in tourism from Middle East

A forecast from the Tourism Australia Aviation and Economics Team predicts that tourism from the Middle East and Mena would grow by eight per cent in 2009 and by 15 per cent in 2010, reports Emirates Business 24/7.

Geoff Buckley, managing director of Tourism Australia said the growth in interest in Australia from the Gulf is a combination of aviation developments and an increased awareness of the travel opportunities in Australia.

"Many Middle East travellers see Australia as a perfect place of escape from the summer heat of the Gulf – they like to 'fly and flop'," Mr Buckley said.

"Increasingly Australia is being recognised as a destination offering family-friendly holiday experiences and this is also in line with Tourism Australia's activities in the region," he said.

As the Middle East has largely escaped the effects of the global financial slowdown, its aviation capacity growth is expected to support the growth of tourism to Australia.  Since 2007, the growth of the Gulf-Australian aviation route has increased by 11 per cent.

Most nationals from the Middle East would be required to obtain an Australian holiday visa – or Australian Tourist Visa (subclass 676) – in order to visit the country for tourism purposes.  The visa allows overseas visitors to holiday, visit family/friends, or participate in non-work activities such as study for less than three months.  The multiple-entry visa can also be extended to six or twelve months, depending on personal circumstances.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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