11 February 2009

Australia voted as top holiday destination during global slowdown

A global survey showed that Australia is the number one choice for travellers during times of economic hardship, reports Reuters.

The survey showed that two-thirds of people are evaluating their travel plans as a result of the global crisis, and that the Asia Pacific region and Australia would be a top priority in their travel plans.

Visa and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) commissioned the survey, which polled over 5,500 people, and of those intending to travel within the next year, the majority chose Asia Pacific as their number one choice of region and over half chose Australia as their choice of country.

Japan and Hong Kong took second and third places after Australia.

The survey included participants from Australia, China, Taiwan, France, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the United States and Britain.  According to the survey, Australians, Britons, Singaporeans, Indians, French and Americans said they were unlikely to alter their travel plans because of the financial crisis, while Taiwanese, Koreans, Japanese, Hong Kong nationals and Chinese would consider doing so.

In related news, figures from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship show that despite the economic recession in the UK, the government has granted 21 per cent more Australian working visas in January 2009 than in the same period last year.  In addition, over 20,000 Australian working holiday visas were granted to British citizens between July and December 2008, which is three thousand more than the same period the year before.

Under this visa type, 18 to 30 year old nationals from participating countries can work in Australia for 12 months.  Holders of this visa have the option of extending it for 12 months if they work in a specified horticultural region of Australia in a specified industry for three months or more. 

Eligible applicants must be able to pass health and character assessments, have a valid passport for the duration of their stay in Australia and prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves once landed in the country. 

Amanda Gripske, working holiday Division Manager from the Australian Visa Bureau, said: "In 2008 we had seen a large number of UK passport holders applying for the Australian working holiday visas and we are excited at the prospect that this will continue in 2009."

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

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