The introduction of 10-year multiple entry visas for Chinese nationals represents a major breakthrough for the Australian tourism industry, Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) CEO Margy Osmond said yesterday.
Osmond said the change, announced by the Federal Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb, will help spur growth in the tourism industry and make Australia more competitive internationally.
“China is one of our fastest-growing and largest visitor markets and this new visa will make it even easier for Chinese to visit Australia and support our tourism industry.
“Last year Australia welcomed 858,500 Chinese visitors. These visitors stay in our hotels, shop in our stores and make a huge contribution to our local economy, highlighting the need for decision-makers to place tourism at the heart of economic development strategies.
“With more than 200 million Chinese nationals expected to travel internationally by 2020, there is enormous potential for Australia to grow its market share.
“TTF has long-argued that the introduction of 10-year multiple entry visas will not only reduce processing costs but would also encourage repeat visits from Chinese business travellers and tourists.
“In our recent paper, Visitor Visa Reform: Reducing the Barriers for Travel Australia, we called for the extension of multiple entry visas to leisure visitors and to other countries.
“The new visa arrangements announced today will make Australia more competitive internationally, with countries including the USA and Singapore already offering 10-year multiple entry visas for Chinese nationals.
“Today’s announcement follows other positives steps by the Federal Government to recently introduce three-year multiple entry visas for Chinese visitors and online application forms.
“Together with yesterday’s announcement on international student visas, the Federal Government is clearly heading in the right direction on visa reform.
“It is fantastic to see the Federal Government listening to the industry and implementing reforms that support job-creating industries like tourism,” she said.