24 March 2009

Australian visa waiver agreement and sunshine to lure Kiwis across the ditch

As winter rolls faster into New Zealand, Gold Coast tourism operators will be banking on their sunshine during the winter period and the ease of travel to lure New Zealand tourists over the Tasman.

New Zealand nationals can travel, live, and work in Australia visa-free, making a hop across the ditch to enjoy some warm weather during the cold winter months an enticing option. 

While tourism operators are prepared for international visitor numbers to fall during the global economic slowdown, the Surfers Paradise Alliance is hoping that Kiwis will look to Australia as its destination of choice, being a more viably economic option for international travel.

According to the ABC News, recent research from Tourism Australia shows that New Zealanders make up the largest international tourist market in the Gold Coast, which reached 211,000 visitors last year.

Rowena Howe, chief executive officer, said the warm winter sun tends to be the major draw card for New Zealanders to holiday in Australia.

"You go to New Zealand in June-July and you need to get your brolly out and put your gloves on, whereas here during the day it's sunny and 22 degrees, so it's quite appealing for the New Zealanders to come across," she said.

"It's still the Gold Coast's number one international market.  The connectivity with flights is excellent."

While New Zealand nationals do not have to apply for an Australian holiday visa to visit the country, most other nationals will need to have one before they can enter Australia for tourism purposes.  The Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is an almost instantaneous visa that is attached electronically to one's passport, and allows the holder to travel in Australia for up to 90 days.

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

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