Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb has announced an extension of the current trial of online visa processing for Chinese visitors to allow three-year, multiple-entry visas for approved visitors.
Tourism Transport Forum Chief Executive Margy Osmond said, “Industry welcomes Minister Robb’s announcement to begin rolling out three-year, multiple-entry visitor visas for the Chinese market.
“Industry has been advocating to government to make visas for Chinese visitors simpler to apply for, faster to receive and more affordable. Visa reform is a real game-changer for Australia’s tourism industry and has the potential to help drive economic growth and jobs here in Australia.
“Combined with the previously-announced move to a permanent online application system for Chinese visitors by the end of 2015, this will help to drive repeat visitation from what are now the highest-spending category of visitors coming to Australia.
“With more than 100 million Chinese nationals travelling internationally in the last year, there is enormous potential for Australia to grow its market share.
“With competitor destinations like the United States offering 10-year multiple-entry visas Australia must continue reforming our visa regime to stay ahead. Australian visitor visas for Chinese still cost a minimum of $130, making them almost seven times more expensive than visas for visitors from Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and the US.
“Visitors eligible to apply for the electronic travel authority (ETA) visas apply online, pay only $20 and receive an immediate response.
“Australia must continue to eliminate barriers to visitation from our key markets so we can capture the enormous growth potential of the visitor economy.”