By Ian Neubauer
Australia’s lagging tourism sector could receive a much-needed boost should a proposal to treat flights from New Zealand like domestic carriers is approved.
The proposal submitted by Newcastle Airport to the Federal Government’s aviation review aims to slash red tape, security checks and customs requirements for passengers on incoming flights from New Zealand.
It also proposes direct flights from New Zealand to rural airports to boost tourism in areas where it is in decline, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
“New Zealand should be treated as domestic through reduced [customs, immigration and quarantine] requirements,” the submission said. “This would better place Australia as an attractive destination through improved air accessibility similar to that achieved in the EU.”
New Zealand is Australia’s largest tourism market. More than 1.1 million New Zealanders visited Australia over the past 12 months, with experts in both counties saying the proposal would improve tourism and business opportunities.
The proposal is being considered by the Department of Infrastructure, with the Federal Government scheduled to release an aviation policy green paper in September.